India lockdown extended untill May 17, split into red, green and orange zones

indica News Bureau-

India will now be under lockdown till May 17 with a complete ban on air travel, trains and inter-state road transport for the general public while educational institutions, theatres, malls, hotels and bars will also remain shut, the government announced on Friday. However, it gave some relaxations for various business activities and people’s movements within areas with limited or no COVID-19 cases.

“After a comprehensive review, and in view of the lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an Order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, today, to further extend the lockdown for a further period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020,” said a home ministry notification.

As indicated by the government earlier, guidelines for lockdown 3.0 are area-specific. Authorities have classified Indian districts into three zones (red, orange and green). Curbs will vary from one zone to the other — maximum in red and minimum in green

These places are also known as hot spots and are areas with a maximum number of Covid-19 cases. The government takes into account a total number of active cases and case doubling rate, among others, before declaring an area a red zone. At present, there are 130 in India. Places that are neither in red nor in the green category. They may have fewer cases. At present, there are 284. Places with no cases or where no case has been reported in 21 days. At present, there are 319 in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first announced a 21-day lockdown from March 25, which was later extended by two more weeks to contain the virus spread. However, several experts have cautioned that the lockdown is severely impacting the economy and many rating agencies and industry bodies have forecast a sharp dip in the country’s economic growth rate for the current fiscal, with a few even estimating an overall GDP decline.

All major urban centers, including Delhi and Mumbai, have been identified as ‘red zones’ or areas with large numbers of cases — hence not many relaxations would be applicable to them beyond the already permitted ones for those involved in essential services.

Special trains also began operating on Friday, which also happened to be Labor Day, to help lakhs of migrant workers stranded for over a month at various urban centers.