The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India, extends the ongoing lockdown for 2 weeks; ie till May 17, 2020. The Ministry additionally also issued guidelines to regulate various activities in this period in the designated red, orange and green zones.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, MHA extends lockdown for 2 more weeks starting from 4 May 2020 to 17 May 2020. The country has been divided into three district-wise zones: green, orange and red. There will be some considerable relaxation of rules, of varying degrees, in both the green and orange zones post 4 May 2020. However, there are also rules, which are applicable to the entire country as a whole, irrespective of the zone in which a region falls.
The green zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases till date or no confirmed case in the last 21 days. The classification of districts as red zones will take into account the total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, the extent of testing, and surveillance feedback from the districts. Those districts, which are neither defined as red nor green, shall be classified as orange zones.
The classification of districts into red, green and orange zones will be shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) with the States and Union Territories (UTs) on a weekly basis, or earlier, as required. While States, and UTs, can include additional districts as red and orange zones, they may not lower the classification of a district, included by MOHFW, in the list of red or orange zones.
As per the press release, MHA extends lockdown for a further period of 2 weeks w.e.f from May 4, 2020. Here is the list of specifications and guidelines that need to be followed accordingly:
Travel by air, rail, metro is not permitted, neither is the interstate movement by road. However, movement of persons by rail, road or air may be allowed for select purposes and those purposes permitted by the MHA. Schools, colleges and other educational/coaching institutions shall not function. Hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, malls, gyms, sports complexes etc. are to remain closed as well. Social, political, cultural and religious places/gatherings are not allowed.
Movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am. In all zones, persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes. Out-Patient Departments (OPDs) and Medical clinics shall be permitted to operate in Red, Orange and Green Zones, with social distancing norms and other safety precautions; however, these will not be permitted within the Containment Zones.
All goods traffic is to be permitted. No State/ UT shall stop the movement of cargo for cross land-border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate pass of any sort is needed for such movement, which is essential for maintaining the supply chain of goods and services across the country during the lockdown period.
In the Red Zones, outside the Containment Zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country. These are: plying of cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws; running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barbershops, spas and salons.
Certain other activities have been allowed in the Red Zones with restrictions. Movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of 2 persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers. Industrial establishments in urban areas, viz.,
Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted. The other industrial activities permitted are manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates; production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain; manufacturing of IT hardware; jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and, manufacturing units of packaging material. 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 activities, in the Red Zones, are permitted only in respect of essential goods. Private offices can operate with up to 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home. All 5
Government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33% as per requirement. However, Defense and Security services, Health and Family Welfare, Police, Prisons, Home Guards, Civil Defense, Fire and Emergency Services, Disaster management and related services, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Customs, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuvak Kendra (NYK) and Municipal services shall function without any restrictions; delivery of public services shall be ensured and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose.
All industrial and construction activities in rural areas are allowed. All agriculture activities, e.g., sowing, harvesting, procurement and marketing operations in the agricultural supply chain are permitted. Animal husbandry activities are fully permitted, including inland and marine fisheries. All plantation activities are allowed, including their processing and marketing.
A large part of the financial sector remains open, which includes banks, non-banking finance companies (NBFCs), insurance and capital market activities, and credit co-operative societies. Operation of homes for children, senior citizens, destitute, women and widows etc.; and operation of Anganwadis have also been permitted. Public utilities, e.g., utilities in power, water, sanitation, waste management, telecommunications and internet will remain open, and courier and postal services will be allowed to operate.
Most of the commercial and private establishments have been allowed in the Red Zones. These include print and electronic media, IT and IT enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons, except for barbers etc., as mentioned earlier. Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates; production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain; Jute industry with staggered shifts and social distancing; and manufacturing of IT hardware and manufacturing units of packaging material will continue to be permitted
In the Orange Zones, in addition to activities permitted in Red Zone, taxis and cab aggregators will be permitted with 1 driver and 1 passenger only. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles will be allowed for permitted activities only. Four-wheeler vehicles will have maximum of two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.
This is all the information that the press release has specified for the orange zone. So, to understand the rules prevailing in the orange zone, one must take a closer look at the rules in the red and green zones.
In the Green Zones, all activities are permitted except the limited number of activities which are prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone. However, buses can operate with up to 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50% capacity.