Sunday 27 September 2020

India extends lockdown till May 31 as Covid cases top 90,000

NEW DELHI, May 17, 2020

India's government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday extended the lockdown for another two weeks till May 31 following recommendation from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as the number of cases across the nation exceeded 90,000 leading to 2,872 deaths.

The global coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 4.7 million people, with over 313,000 deaths, according to a tracker.

Senior officials said lockdown 4.0 will be slightly different from earlieer ones with the government providing more relaxations outside the containment zones including inter-state movement of buses with mutual consent of states that is expected to be of immediate relief for thousands of migrant workers on the roads.

NDMA has asked the National Executive Council (NEC) to amend the guidelines to open up economic activities, reported PTI citing sources.

In its recommendations to home ministry, NDMA, the apex disaster management body said: “Considering the fact that lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period in the country to contain the spread of COVID 19, NDMA in exercise of its powers under the DM act, 2005, directs the ministeries, departments of GOI, States governments and authorities to continue the lockdown measures upto May 31...”

Easing more curbs to step up economic activity, the new guidelines for lockdown 4.0 unveiled by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) till May 31 allowed shops and markets including barber shops, salons and spas except those in malls to open with staggered timings, reported PTI.

E-commerce companies were also permitted to deliver all goods, including those considered non-essential.

However, the night curfew will remain which meant that all non-essential travel will remain prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am and authorities will ensure strict compliance, the MHA said.

As the country recorded the highest single day spike of 4,987 new cases, the states were allowed to demarcate the red, green and orange zones depending upon COVID-19 case load, a demand made by chief ministers of several states and union territories, stated the report citing MHA sources.

The MHA said the same should be done after taking into consideration of parameters outlined by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As per the MHA guidelines, schools, malls and other public places will remain mostly closed, though rules will be relaxed in areas with low numbers of cases.

The Lockdown 4.0 guidelines are based on suggestions from states that PM Modi had sought during his fifth discussion with chief ministers on the pandemic on May 11.

This is the third extension to the lockdown, which was first imposed from March 25 and then extended from April 15 and May 4. States and Union Territories are expected to get further leeway to define containment zones and allow permitted activities in non-containment zones, said officials.



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