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BREAKING: Centre extends COVID-19 Lockdown by 2 weeks from May 4; significant relaxations to be introduced in Green, Orange Zones

Inter alia, it has been directed that the District Administration should ensure that all residents in containment zones should be covered by the Central Government's Arogya Setu COVID-19 tracking app.

Bar & Bench

The Union Home Ministry (MHA) has intimated its decision to extend the national lockdown in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 by another two weeks beyond May 4. The second phase of the lockdown was earlier scheduled to end on May 3.

As per a press release, the decision was taken after a comprehensive review, and given that the lockdown measures have led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The MHA also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of districts, which are being classified as into Red (hotspot), Green and Orange zones.

The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the Green and orange zones, the press release states.

The criteria for identification of these zones have been spelt in a letter dated April 20 issued by the Union Health Ministry, it is informed. Broadly, these zones are described as follows:

  • Green Zones: Districts with either zero confirmed cases till date or no confirmed cases in the last 21 days;

  • Red Zones: Classification of Red zones will take into account the total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, extent of testing and surveillance feedback from the districts;

  • Orange Zones: Those districts that are neither green nor red would be classified as Orange zones.

The classification of districts into these zones would be shared with the States and Union Territories on a weekly basis, or earlier as required. It is further added that,

"While States and UTs can include additional districts as Red and Orange Zones, they may not lower the classification of a district included by MoHFW in the list of Red or Orange Zones."
Press Release

Notably, in Green Zones, " all activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone. However buses can operate with upto 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity."

The Press Release issued today also details the limited scope of activities permitted in Red and Orange zones. It has been emphasised,

"State/ UT Governments are mandated to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner."
Press Release

Arogya Setu app for Containment Zones

The most sensitive areas of the country falling within the Red and Orange Zones or "Containment Zones", would be defined by the District Administration.

Containment Zones would have intensified surveillance protocols, with contact tracing, house to house surveillance, home/ institutional quarantining of persons based on their risk assessment, and clinical management.

Notably, it has been directed that the residents in containment zones would have to download the Central Government's Arogya Setu COVID-19 tracking app.

In this regard, the press release states,

"The local authority shall ensure 100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of the Containment Zone."
Press Release

Restrictions that would apply regardless of Zone

A limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone, it has been informed. These include:

  • Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-State movement by road;

  • Running of schools, colleges, and other educational and training/ coaching institutions;

  • Hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants;

  • Places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes etc;

  • Social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; and,

  • Religious places/ places of worship for public.

However, movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA.

Further, it has been informed that the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am. Orders may be issued for this purpose under Section 144, CrPC.

In all zones, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Read the MHA Order:

MHA Order Dt. 1.5.2020 to extend Lockdown period for 2 weeks w.e.f. 4.5.2020 with new guidelines.pdf
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Read the Press Release:

Press Release on extension of lockdown and issue of new guidelines dt 01.05.2020.pdf
Preview
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