Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Friday extended the COVID-19 lockdown by two more weeks across the country. As per the notification issued by the MHA, the lockdown has been further extended for a period of two weeks beyond May 4, 2020. The government decided to extend the lockdown after a comprehensive review of the COVID-19 situation which has improved due to the lockdown measures in the country, the notification read.

MHA has also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period based on risk profiling of the districts in the country into Red (hotspot), Green and Orange zones.

There will be considerable relaxations in the districts falling under the Green and Orange zones, MHA order said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 declared a 21-day countrywide lockdown for the first time to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus. The restriction was extended on April 14 for another 17 days.

In the new guidelines,  it has been provided that such districts will be classified into two zones -- one for the area under the boundary of the municipal bodies and another for the area falling outside their boundary.

If the area outside the boundary of the civic body has reported no case for the last 21 days, it will be allowed to be classified as one stage lower than the overall classification of the district as either red or orange. Hence, this area will be classified as orange, in case the district is overall Red; or as Green, in case the district is overall Orange.

The containment areas would be defined by respective District Administrations, taking into account the total number of active cases, their geographical spread, and the need to have well demarcated perimeters from the enforcement point of view.

The local authority shall ensure 100 per cent coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of the Containment Zone, which would have intensified surveillance protocols, with contact tracing, house to house surveillance, home or institutional quarantining of persons based on their risk assessment, and clinical management. Strict perimeter control would need to be ensured, so that there is no movement of people in and out of these zones, except for medical emergencies, and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.

All Air, Train, Metro, Bus Travel Prohibited In Lockdown 3.0

Under new guidelines, a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of the Zone.These include travel by air, rail, metro & inter-State movement by road. However, movement by air, rail & road is allowed for select purposes.

Running of schools, colleges, and other educational and training/ coaching institutions, hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants; places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes etc; social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings and religious places/ places of worship for public prohibited. However, movement of persons by air, rail and road is allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA.

The Health Ministry has prepared the zonal classification of the districts for the week after May 3. The list will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier & communicated to States for further follow-up action in consonance with directions issued by MHA under Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Earlier, the Central government listed 319 districts of the country as green zones, 284 as orange and 130 as red zones. This classification, which will come in force for a week after May 3, is multi-factorial and takes into consideration incidence of cases, doubling rate, extent of testing and surveillance feedback to classify the districts.

Maharashtra, which accounts for the highest number of cases and deaths, has 14 red zones, followed by 19 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Tamil Nadu and 11 in Delhi. The national capital has no orange and green zones but only red zones.

In the southern India, Kerala has 2 red zones and 10 orange zones and Tamil Nadu has 12 red zones. Uttar Pradesh has 36 orange zones, followed by 24 in Tamil Nadu, 20 in Bihar and 19 each in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

In a major relief, a batch of districts across states and Union Territories, except Delhi and Ladakh, have been declared green zones. Assam has the highest number of such zones, followed by Arunanchal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

A district will be considered under green zone, if there are no confirmed cases so far or there is no reported case since the last 21 day.

Here's What's Allowed And What's Not In Different Zones:

As per the MHA order, movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am. Local authorities shall issue orders under appropriate provisions of law, such as prohibitory orders [curfew] under Section 144 of CrPC, for this purpose, and ensure strict compliance.

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.

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, barber shops, spas and saloons.

Activities Allowed In Red Zone:

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-wheeler. Industrial establishments in urban areas, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted.

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, neighborhood (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 upto 33% strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.

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.

Orange Zone:

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 two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.

Green Zone:

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 upto 50% seating capacity and bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity.

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.

All other activities will be permitted activities, which are not specifically prohibited, or which are permitted with restrictions in the various Zones, under these guidelines. However, States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, and with the primary objective of keeping the spread of COVID-19 in check, may allow only select activities from out of the permitted activities, with such restrictions as felt necessary.

No separate/ fresh permissions will be required from authorities for activities already permitted to operate under the guidelines on Lockdown measures up to May 3, 2020.

Odisha’s three districts- Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore where COVID cases have seen a steep rise over the last few days are classified in the Red Zone.

Khurda district has been placed in the Orange Zone. However, capital city Bhubaneswar reportedly continues to be in the Red Zone, as one new case was detected on Wednesday just 7 days prior to hitting the target of 21 days.

Other districts in the Orange Zone are Sundergarh, Kendrapara, Koraput, Dhenkanal and Kalahandi. Rest of the 21 districts are placed in the Green Zone.


(With Agency Inputs)