Centre extends September Unlock Guidelines till November 30

Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW

The Union Home Affairs Ministry (MHA) issued an order on Tuesday extending the guidelines for re-opening issued on September 30 to remain in force till November 30. Earlier the guidelines announced was to be in place till October 31.

The order stated that lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till November 30.

Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the district authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission, it stated, adding strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed, it reiterated. The Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the states/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.

The order further reiterated that state/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government. Moreover, no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

The order further stated that vulnerable persons, above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. The use of AarogyaSetu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.

National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, so as to enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior, the order read.

The MHA pointed out that since the issuance of the first order on lockdown measures by MHA on March 24, almost all activities have been gradually opened up in areas outside the Containment Zones.

While most of the activities have been permitted, some activities involving large number of people, have been allowed with some restrictions and subject to SOPs being followed regarding health and safety precautions. These activities include - metro rail; shopping malls; hotel, restaurants and hospitality services; religious places; yoga and training institutes; gymnasiums; cinemas; entertainment park among others, it stated.

In respect of certain activities, having relatively higher degree of risk of COVID infection, it informed that the State/ UT Governments have been permitted to take decisions for their re-opening, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs. These activities include – schools and coaching institutes; State and private universities for research scholars; allowing gatherings above the limit of 100 among others.

As per the guidelines issued on September last, Cinemas and multiplexes were allowed to open with 50% seating capacity. Social gathering like academic to political functions among others in closed spaces was allowed with a maximum of 50% of the hall capacity and subject to ceiling of 200 persons. Further decision regarding the above activities will be taken based on the assessment of the situation, it stated.

“The essence behind graded re-opening and progressive resumption of activities is to move ahead. However, it does not mean the end of the pandemic. There is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting COVID-19 appropriate behavior by every citizen in their daily routine”, the order read.

Jan Andolan campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8 on COVID-19 appropriate behavior to follow three mantras, namely: wear your mask properly; wash your hands frequently; and maintain safe distance of six feet.

There is an urgent need to instill a sense of discipline and ownership amongst citizens in order that the resumption of activities is successful and gains made in the management of the pandemic are not diluted, it urged.

 

First Published:Oct. 27, 2020, 9:38 p.m.

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