On Sunday, the Central Government had initiated the phase 4 of the nationwide lockdown that was imposed first on March 24, amidst the Coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown has now been extended till May 31.
In a notification issued by the National Disaster Management Authority, the central govt departments and state governments were directed to extend the lockdown measures upto 31st May.
The lockdown 4 will be almost same as lockdown 3, with few changes incorporated to allow inter-state movement of people. As per the detail guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs for the Lockdown 4, all domestic and passenger air services, metro rail services, schools, colleges and other educational institutions will remain shut. Hotels and other hospitality service organisations, cinema halls, shopping malls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, parks, theatres, bars etc will remain shut until 31 May. All kinds of large gatherings for any purpose remains prohibited. Religious places will also remain closed for public and religious congregations will not be allowed.
Following the decision of the govt to allow movement of migrants to their home states, inter-state passenger vehicles and buses will be allowed with mutual consent of the origin and destination states.
The zonal classification of green, orange and red zones based on the prevalence of Coronavirus has been retained, with containment zones and buffer zones to be demarcated in red and orange zones.
Only essential services will be allowed in containment zones, and there will be strict control to prevent unauthorized movement of people.
The night curfew from 7 PM to 7 AM announced in the third phase of the lockdown continues in the fourth phase too.
Apart from these prohibitions, all other activities will be allowed outside containment zones. The standard operating procedures (SOP) issued in MHA in terms of enforcing lockdown and preventing Coronavirus transmission will continue to be in force.
States extend lockdown prior to Centre’s announcement
Prior to the announcement by the Centre, several State Governments had decided to extend the lockdown in their respective states. Reportedly, Telangana was the first state to extend the lockdown till May 29. The decision was made by the State Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. All shops will be allowed to operate in rural areas and towns will see about 50% of shops in function. Private and public offices will run with a 30% workforce and shops selling non-essential items will remain closed in red zones.
Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami extended the shutdown in the State to May 31. Public transport will remain operational in 25 districts. About 12 districts, including Chennai, will witness similar restrictions as that of phase 3 of the lockdown. Ban on running educational institutions, public gatherings, and religious congregation shall continue.
While curfew has been lifted in the State of Punjab, lockdown will remain in force till May 31. CM AMarinder Singh assured limited public transport and maximum possible relaxation in no-hotspot zones. Containment zones will be sealed and non-essential items can be sold in non-containment zones. Besides, Mizoram and Maharashtra also extended the lockdown till May 31, prior to Centre’s announcement.
Nationwide Shutdown in India
From the midnight of the intervening night between the 24th of March and the 25th, the first phase of the national lockdown was imposed across the country for 21 days to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading any further. In the second phase, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the extension of the nationwide shutdown to May 3, owing to the rising cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus linked to Tablighi Jamaat members.
Two days before the shutdown was to expire, the Union Home Ministry issued a notification on May 1 which said that the lockdown would be further extended for two weeks. Unlike the first two phases of the lockdown that had uniform restrictions, the third phase that began from 4th May varied in different areas depending on the zones that the places fell into.