Lockdown 4.0 in India comes with new guidelines

indica News Bureau-

The Government of India has extended lockdown further, now till May 31, 2020 with fresh guidelines for red, orange and green zones. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an order, Sunday, May 17, under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, in this regard released the new guidelines on May 17.

Under the new guidelines, states and union territories (UTs) will  now delineate Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry. The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc, as decided by States and UTs. The local authorities will also demarcate the containment areas in red and orange zones.

Within the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. Strict perimeter control shall be maintained, and no movement of persons would be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.  Buffer zones are areas adjoining each containment zone, where new cases are more likely to appear.  In the buffer zones, more caution needs to be exercised.

A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.

These include all domestic and international air travel of passengers, and metro rail services with for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance being exceptions for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA.

However, in order to facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up.  Movement of individuals by trains has been permitted earlier by MHA through an order dated May 5, 2020. Further, evacuation of foreign nationals from India, return of stranded Indian nationals from abroad, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, and intra-State and inter-State movement of stranded persons by bus and train, will continue to be allowed.

Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/ UTs.  Intra-State movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs.

Running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions will also be suspended till the lockdown continues. Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports along with places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums entertainment parks will also stay closed.

Local authorities  have been instructed to ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing.   All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.

However, online/ distance learning shall be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items. Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities.  However, spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

The lockdown 4.0 also prohibits social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations; and, access to religious places of worship for public.

Under these new guidelines, wearing of face covers/masks is compulsory; spitting will be punishable with fine as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the State/ UT local authority; and social distancing is to be followed by all persons in public places and in transport.  Marriage related gathering shall not have more than 50 guests.  For funerals/ last rites, the maximum number of persons allowed has been kept at 20.  Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed in public places.

The National Directives also stipulate additional requirements for work places.  The practice of work from home (WfH) should be followed to the extent possible; and staggering of work hours should be adopted in respect of all offices and other establishments.  There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all work places and other sensitive locations are to be sanitized regularly.  In work places, social distancing would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch break of staff and so on.