Centre extends nationwide lockdown till May 31, new guidelines issued

MHA allows interstate vehicular, bus movement; air travel, metro rail still not permitted

Centre extends nationwide lockdown till May 31, new guidelines issued

Migrant labourers undergo thermal screening as they arrive at Howrah station in a special train from Mumbai, during the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown, in Kolkata on May 17, 2020. PTI photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 17

The government on Sunday extended the COVID-19 induced lockdown for a further period of two weeks till May 31, as the new guidelines authorise state and Union Territory governments to have the power of delineation of red, orange and green zones while keeping in mind the parameters shared by Union Health Ministry.

The new guidelines has done away with the categorization of hotspots in the containment zones and its place it has created a new category of “buffer zone” and defined it to be an area “where new cases are more likely to appear” and so “more caution needs to be exercised”.

According to the guidelines for Lockdown 4.0, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), a number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.

They include all domestic and international commercial passenger flights and Metro rail services.

Even running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions; hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services will remain prohibited all across the country.

All places of large public gatherings, including cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, entertainment parks, etc., will remain closed, as social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations and access to religious places will remain prohibited.  

Among the permitted activities the highlight of the guidelines is opening of sports complexes and stadia, but only for sports activities, as spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

Further empowering states and UTs, the MHA said, “In order to facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up. Inter-state movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/UTs. Intra-state movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs.” 

In the guidelines the MHA asked district authorities to advise individuals to install the “Aarogya Setu” application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app.  “This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk,” it said.

Further the MHA has categorically mentioned the guidelines that all other activities will be permitted “except those which are specifically prohibited”, but in containment zones, “only essential activities shall be allowed”, as mentioned earlier.

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


Activities continue to be prohibited throughout the country

  • Normal commercial passenger flights both domestic and international
  • Metro rail services
  • Running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions
  • Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports
  • Places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums, entertainment parks
  • Social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations
  • Access to religious places/places of worship
  • Night curfew between 7 pm and 7 am to remain in force on the movement of individuals.

Changes from the previous lockdown in terms activities allowed

  • All other activities permitted except those which are specifically prohibited
  • Sports complexes and stadia to open for sports activities, but without spectators
  • Restaurants to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items
  • Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses with mutual consent of the concerned States/UTs
  • All markets to open with staggered timings and not more than five persons at one time in a shop to ensure social distancing  
  • Limited operations of Indian Railways to continue

Administrative changes in terms of authority

  • States and Union Territories (UTs) empowered to delineate Red, Green and Orange zones on the parameters fixed by the Union Health Ministry
  • In Red and Orange zones containment and buffer areas to be demarcated by local authorities and only essential services permitted
  • States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
  • District authorities to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on their mobiles.

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