Lockdown extended till May 31, fresh guidelines issued as per views of states, UTs

PTI

File photo: Corona  Warriors maintaining social distancing

File photo: Corona Warriors maintaining social distancing

The Union Home Ministry on Sunday night said the fresh guidelines for the fourth phase of the nationwide lockdown were issued after taking the views of the state governments following a video conference held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the chief ministers on May 11.

In a communication to chief secretaries of all state governments and union territory administrations, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said under the new guidelines effective from Monday, states and UTs will now categorise red, orange and green zones taking into consideration the revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.

The ongoing countrywide lockdown was extended till May 31 by the National Disaster Management Authority.

New guidelines on lockdown measures have been issued in supersession of earlier lockdown orders, except the Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued on the movement of persons.

These guidelines have been issued after taking into consideration the views of the state governments following the video conference held by the Prime Minister with the Chief Ministers on May 11, Bhalla said.

The home secretary said states and union territories (UTs) will now categorise red, orange and green zones and inside the red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be identified by the district administration and local urban bodies with technical inputs at local level and by taking into consideration the health ministry guidelines.

Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained, and no movement of people would be allowed across the zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services, the letter said.

The home secretary said a limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.

In order to facilitate the movement of people, various modes of transport have already been opened up as per SoPs issued by MHA and all other activities will be permitted except those which are specifically prohibited under these guidelines.

However, in containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed, as mentioned earlier.

“As emphasized in my earlier letters, I would like to reiterate again that States and Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed vide the aforesaid guidelines issued by MHA,” Bhalla said.

“States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.”

“I would urge you to ensure compliance of the new guidelines, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation,” Bhalla said.

The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to combat coronavirus pandemic. It was first extended till May 3 and again till May 17.