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Lockdown 5.0 is Unlock 1.0: New MHA rules allow nearly all to reopen

Our Correspondent

Mumbai, May 31:

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued new guidelines for the fifth phase of lockdown,  under which all activities outside containment zones will be to resume in a phased manner from Monday, First June,2020.

While International air travel, schools, gyms, cinema halls will continue to remain shut, the  current phase of re-opening, ‘Unlock 1’, will have an economic focus. All activities that were prohibited earlier will be opened up in areas outside containment zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to be prescribed by the Health Ministry.

In Phase I, religious places and places of worship for public, hotels, restaurants, other hospitality services, and shopping malls will be permitted to open from 8 June. The Union Health Ministry will issue SOPs for these activities, in consultation with the Central ministries/departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of Covid-19.

In Phase II, schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions etc, will be opened after consultations with States and Union Territories (UT). State Governments/UT administrations have been advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July. The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will prepare SOPs for these institutions.

With the latest guidelines, only a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country from first June. The services that continue to remain suspended are: International air travel of passengers, Operation of metro rail, Cinema halls, Gymnasiums, Swimming pools, Entertainment parks, Theatres, Bars and auditoriums, Assembly halls and similar places, Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions, and other large congregations.

In Phase III, dates for the opening of the above activities will be decided based on an assessment of the situation. However, lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones. All these services will be allowed to resume after a discussion of the state governments with the Centre. However, the dates of the discussions are not out yet.

The containment zones will be demarcated by the state/ UT governments, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Health Ministry. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities will be allowed.

Unrestricted movement of persons and goods

The home ministry has also removed all restrictions on intra-state and inter-state movement of people. However, the night curfew will continue to remain in force with a revised schedule. The movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, will be prohibited from 9 PM to 5 AM am from first June. No separate permission/approval/e-permit will be required for such movements.

However, if a State/ UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate the movement of people, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movements, and the related procedures will have to be followed, the MHA guidelines said.

National Directives for COVID-19 management

According to the latest guidelines, National Directives for Covid-19 management will continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. The onus is on the states to decide on activities outside the containment zones. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose restrictions as deemed necessary, the new guidelines say.

Protection for vulnerables

Vulnerable people, i.e. those above 65 years of age, those with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, have been advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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