India will enter the fourth lockdown phase starting May 18 but with a different set of rules and guidelines as issued on Sunday by the Home Ministry. This phase of the nationwide lockdown will take effect until May 31, focusing on a gradual revival of economic activity while keeping in mind the increasing number of new cases of coronavirus across the country.
Most restrictions will not be allowed such as domestic and international air travel, metro services, educational institutions, hospitality services such as restaurants and hotels, cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, social, sports, religious, entertainment, academic, cultural and political gatherings.
The MHA said inter-state passenger vehicle movement, buses would be permitted with mutual state consent. Furthermore adding that night curfew will remain in force on the movement of individuals between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. for all non-essential activities. The guidelines also shed light for protection of vulnerable persons, such as persons over the age of 65, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children under the age of 10 years, shall remain at home, except to meet essential requirements and for health purposes.
States and UT to decide various zones
States and Union Territories will be given the freedom to designate areas into the Red, Green and Orange Zones, taking into account the parameters issued by the centre.
Local authorities will demarcate containment and buffer zones within the red and orange zones, after taking into account the guidelines of the Health Ministry.
Only essential activities shall be allowed within the containment zones. Strict perimeter control shall be maintained and no movement of persons shall be permitted, except for medical emergencies and supplies of essential goods and services shall be maintained. The buffer zones are areas adjacent to each containment zone, where new cases appear more likely. More caution should be exercised in the buffer zones.
National Directives on management of COVID-19 as released by MHA
- Wearing of face masks is compulsory
- Spitting is punishable with fine as may be prescribed by the State / UT local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.
- Social distance is to be followed by all persons in public places and in transportation.
- There shall be no more than 50 guests to gather in connection with marriage.
- The maximum number of persons allowed was kept at 20 for funerals / last rites.
- In public places, the consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed.
- To the extent possible, the practice of work from home (WFH) should be followed; and all offices and other establishments should adopt a staggering of work hours.
- Thermal scanning, hand washing, and sanitizers should be provided at all points of entry and exit and common areas; and all workplaces and other sensitive locations should be regularly sanitized.
- Social distancing in workplaces would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering staff's lunch break and so on.
Shop and Market Stipulations
- Local authorities should ensure the opening of shops and markets with staggered timing in order to ensure social distance.
- All shops must also ensure a distance of six feet between customers, and at the same time not allow more than five people.
Use of Aarogya Setu
District authorities were asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and to update their health status on the application on a regular basis. This will facilitate timely provision of medical care to those at risk.
State / UT Governments shall continue to strictly enforce the guidelines on lockdowns and shall not in any way dilute those guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act 2005.