GUWAHATI, April 15 - Though the nationwide lockdown to prevent spreading of coronavirus has been extended to May 3, it will be relaxed from April 20 by maintaining the standard operational procedures including social distancing in work places, factories etc and all the states and Union Territories have been directed to strictly enforce the Disaster Management Act, 2005 to take action against those who violate the guidelines.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday announced the extension of nationwide lockdown up to May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs today issued revised guidelines to all the states and Union Territories and the activities which will remain prohibited across the country up to May 3 are all domestic and international air travel of passenger, all passenger movement by trains, except for security purposes, buses for public transport, metro rail services, inter-district and inter-State movement of individuals except for medical reasons or for activities permitted under the guidelines.
As per the guidelines, all educational, training, coaching institutions etc. will remain closed. Industrial and commercial activities other than those permitted, taxis, all cinema halls, shopping complexes, sports complexes and gymnasiums, religious, entertainment and other gatherings, places of worship, etc will remain closed. In case of funerals, congregation of more than 20 persons will not be allowed.
Hotspots, that is areas facing large COVID-19 outbreaks, will be determined as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and containment zones will be demarcated by the state and district administration. Activities allowed under the guidelines will not be permitted in the hotspots. The guidelines said that all health services will remain operational and agricultural activities including farming operations, activities of the agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, mandis operated by the notified agencies etc will remain operational. Shops for agriculture machinery, manufacture and distribution of fertilizers etc are also allowed. Fisheries and operation of tea , coffee and rubber plantations with 50 per cent work force is allowed.
The financial sector including banks, insurance companies etc will operate and the local administration will have to provide adequate security in such institutions to ensure maintenance of social distancing.
The Government has decided to encourage distance and online learning to maintain academic schedule as the educational institutions will remain closed. Maximum use of Doordarshan and other education channels will be made, the Government guidelines said. The MNREGA works will be allowed with strict implementation of social distancing and priority will have to be given on irrigation and water conservation works.
Operations of the oil and gas sector including refining , transportation , distribution etc would continue. Other sectors like Telecommunications, water and sanitation, internet services, postal services etc will continue to operate.
Movement and loading, unloading of goods, cargo etc are allowed by road, rail and air, while, the inland container depots will also operate. The supply line of all the essentials will be maintained all over the country. The district authorities will facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals.
Private and commercial establishments including print and electronic media, IT and IT enabled services with 50 per cent strength, e commerce companies, courier services, cold storage and warehouse services, private security services, hotels, homestays which are accommodating stranded tourists, establishments used as quarantine facilities, services provided by self employed persons including electrician, plumbers, IT repairs etc are allowed to operate.
On construction activities, the guidelines said that the construction of roads, irrigation projects, projects in industrial estates , buildings are allowed outside the limits of municipal corporations. In case of constructions under the municipal areas, no worker will be allowed to be brought from outside.
Private vehicles will be allowed for emergency services including medical and veterinary care and to procure essentials and in such cases, only one passenger besides the driver will be allowed. In case of two wheelers, only the driver is allowed.
On the Government offices, the guidelines said that police, home guards, fire and emergency services , disaster management etc will function without any restriction. The other offices of the Central Government will function with 100 per cent attendance of the levels of Deputy Secretaries and above and 33 per cent of remaining staff. The offices of state governments will function with restricted staff. The Group A and B officers may attend as required and the group C and below will attend up to 33 per cent strength by maintaining social distancing.