Lockdown extended; States will take a call on infection zones 

#GS2 #Governance 

Government eases inter-State travel but curbs on malls, religious gatherings stay 

  • The Centre extended the nationwide lockdown, first imposed on March 24, for the fourth time till May 31 while giving considerable flexibility to the States in deciding red, green and orange zones of COVID-19 intensity. 
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in its fresh guidelines for Lockdown 4.0, eased restrictions considerably by allowing inter-State movement of buses and cars, opening of all shops, except those in malls and containment zones, and the delivery of non-essential items through online shopping platforms.  
  • The 33% restriction on workforce in offices has also been done away with. 
  • The decision to extend the lockdown was taken after the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) directed the Centre and the State governments to continue the lockdown measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  
  • While metro systems, domestic and international air travel continue to remain suspended, the new guidelines allow plying of auto-rickshaws, cab aggregators and private taxis, subject to permission by local authorities.  
  • Special train services will continue to operate on limited routes. 
  • The National Directives for COVID-19 Management said that the practice of work from home should be followed to the extent possible and staggered work hours should be adopted in respect of all offices and other establishments. 
  • There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitisers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all work places and other sensitive locations are to be sanitised regularly.  
  • The MHA said the Aarogya Setu mobile app is a powerful tool to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19 or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community. 
  • With a view to ensure safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that the application is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.  
  • District authorities have been asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the App.  
  • The local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing.  
  • All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance among customers and also not allow more than five persons at one time. 
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