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MHA issues consolidated guidelines for lockdown till May 3: Agricultural activities allowed, sports arenas and religious places to remain shut

In areas which are not affected by the coronavirus outbreak, activities such as agricultural, horticultural, farming, procurement of Agri products, 'mandis' will be permitted from April 20.

After PM Modi yesterday announced an extension of the lockdown for an additional 19 days till May 3 to bolster the country’s battle against the Wuhan coronavirus, the Ministry of Home Affairs has today issued detailed guidelines for states, union territories and the general public to follow during this extended lockdown.

In its latest guidelines, the government has eased restrictions for agricultural activities. This move comes at a time when the harvest season of Rabi crop is at its peak. The guidelines that were issued today said that some of the essential sectors such agriculture, manufacturing sectors will be allowed to operate during the lockdown as a measure by the government to “mitigate the hardships” suffered by people.

The guidelines also decreed that all the religious places, educational institutes, schools, cinema halls, malls and sports arena, gyms, swimming pool and other community places will remain closed till May 3.

Guidelines during the lockdown:

1. All the domestic and international air travel will continue to remain suspended till May 3. All passenger railways services will also remain suspended.

2. All educational, training institutions, schools etc to remain shut during the lockdown. Cinema halls, malls, shopping/sports complexes, gyms, swimming pools, theatres, bars etc to remain closed till May 3. Even taxis (including auto and cycle rickshaws) and services of cab aggregators are prohibited from resuming their operations during the lockdown period.

3. A strict ban on the sale of tobacco, gutka and liquor is to be observed during the lockdown. Spitting has been made a punishable offence.

4. District Magistrate will regulate and monitor gatherings of funerals and marriages.

5. Industries functioning in rural areas, outside the municipal limits, are allowed to operate from April 30 but with rigorous social distancing norms.

6. Manufacturing and industrial organisations located in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and Export Oriented Units (EOU), industrial estates and industrial townships are permitted to resume their operations from April 20. However, these organisations will have to adhere to government-mandated requirements for the stay and transport of its workers.

7. Manufacturing units involved in the production of essential goods such as drugs, medicines etc have been allowed to function.

8. Government has asked Workspaces to conduct screening of all employees and keep a gap of 1 hour in between shifts and stagger lunch breaks etc. The entire list of hospitals and medical facilities treating COVID-19 shall be put up at all workplaces.

9Outlets of farm machinery, its spare parts, supply chain, repairs, ‘Custom Hiring Centres’ related to machinery are allowed to open from April 20.

10.  In areas which are not affected by the coronavirus outbreak, activities such as agricultural, horticultural, farming, procurement of Agri products, ‘mandis’ will be permitted from April 20.

11. Wearing of mask/face cover is mandated in all public places, workplaces.

12. Self-employed electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters can render their services from April 20.

13. Provision stores, fruit, vegetables shops or carts, milk booths, meat, poultry and fish stores to remain open during the lockdown.

14. Government has also given its assent to highway ‘dhabas’, truck repairing shops to operate from April 20.

15. Places of worship, religious places, religious functions, social, political, sports gatherings remain prohibited during the lockdown till May 3.

16. The government has exempted all the agricultural and horticultural activities from the list of activities banned under lockdown. Agricultural and horticultural activities can remain fully functional, such as farming operations by farmers and farmworkers in the field. The work under MNREGA is allowed with caveats such as the strict implementation of social distancing norms and mandatory use of face masks.

17. Banks, ATMs, IT vendors for banking operations, banking correspondents, ATM operation and cash management agencies to carry out functioning business-as-usual.

18. Exemptions given from April 20 will not be applicable in COVID-19 hotspots or containment zones.

As per latest reports, India 11,555 total cases of coronavirus. 1362 persons have recovered wile 396 people have died of the pandemic.

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