New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Friday evening that the national lockdown, which was supposed to end on May 3, will be extended for another two weeks after that. However, this lockdown will be somewhat different from the others, as relaxations will differ based on where cases are being reported from.
Earlier in the day, the government has released a list of red, green and orange zones. According to an MHA press release, several activities will still remain barred, irrespective of zone. This includes air, rail, metro and inter-state road travel, educational institutions, hotels and restaurants, social, cultural and religious gatherings. People above the age of 65 have also been asked to stay home at all times.
In Red Zones, transport services including app-based taxis and autorickshaws will continue to be barred, the guidelines say. In these areas, “Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects.
“Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes. However, all standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.”
E-commerce in Red Zones will remain limited to essential goods. Private offices in these areas can operate at up to 33% capacity.
In the Orange Zones, in addition to what is allowed in the Red Zones, app-based taxi services with one passenger can now ply. In the Green Zones, all activities that are not in the list of activities barred for the entire country, mentioned above, are allowed.
The MHA has also given the states to prohibit further activities in whichever zones they see fit.
Read the full press release:
In a letter issued on April 30 to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan designated districts into Red, Orange and Green Zones. These zones, Sudan said, was decided on the basis of the number of reported cases, doubling rates, extent of testing and surveillance feedback.
According to the letter issued, Delhi has 11, Maharashtra has 14, Tamil Nadu’s 12 and Uttar Pradesh’s 19 districts are classified as red zone. Several other districts like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala have less than 10 districts under the red zone.
In the letter Sudan says several states have expressed their concerns over the criteria. “Since recovery rates have gone up, districts are now being designated across various zones duly broad-basing the criteria. The classification is multi-factorial and takes into consideration incidences of cases, doubling rates, extent of testing and surveillance feedback. Some states have raised issues on certain districts being included in red zone, but this is a dynamic list and will be revised on a weekly basis,” she stated in the letter.
In all, 130 districts have been classified as red-zone, 284 falls under the orange-zone category and 319 districts have been notified as green-zone. “A district will be considered under Green Zone, if there are no confirmed cases so far or there is no reported case since last 21 days in the district,” Sudan states in the letter.
Most districts that have been categorised as red- zones are also city space with high population density. As of May 1, the total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 35,043, with the reported deaths of 1,147 persons. Another 1,993 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours.
Maharashtra continues to be the worst affected with the numbers of positive cases crossing the 10,000 mark, taking the total number of fatalities to 459. After Maharashtra, Gujarat was the worst affected state in the country with over 4,395 cases (as on Thursday). Similarly, the total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi has increased over 3,500 and Tamil Nadu’s total coronavirus count is around 2,300.
According to the ministry of health and family welfare, 8,888 people were cured, as of April 30.