As the country neared the end of Lockdown 2.0, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday announced an extension of the lockdown by another two weeks. The number of Coronavirus cases continues to soar across the country with the current tally at 35,365 and 1,152 deaths due to the deadly virus. However, the Home Ministry has announced 'considerable relaxations' along with the extension. The government has also permitted movement of stranded persons across the country to return back to their respective home state and the Centre shall also ply special trains and buses for the same.
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The Centre has also distinguished districts across the country into red, orange and green zones to facilitate phase-wise lifting of restrictions. A district is distinguished as a green zone when no fresh case of COVID-19 has been reported in the past 21 days. While the lockdown is set to remain in place till May 17, here are the relaxations announced by the Union government:
In Green Zones
- All activities shall be permitted except the limited activities barred across the country, irrespective of the zones. This includes travel by air, rail, metro, running of schools & colleges, hospitality services and social, political, cultural or religious gatherings
- Buses can operate with 50% seating capacity
- Bus depots can operate with upto 50% capacity
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In Orange Zones
- All activities permitted in Red Zone shall be applicable in Orange Zones as well
- In addition, taxis and cab aggregators shall ply with only 1 passenger
- Inter-district movement of individuals for permitted activities shall be allowed
- Four-wheelers shall have a maximum of two passengers
- Pillion rider will be allowed in case of two-wheelers
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In Red Zones
- Outside containment zones, plying of cycle rickshaws and autorickshaws, running of taxis, barber shops, spas and saloons shall be prohibited.
- Movement of individuals & vehicles is allowed for only permitted activities
- A maximum of 2 persons (besides the driver) in cars and no pillion rider in case of two-wheelers
- Special Economic Zones, Exported Oriented Units, industrial states and industrial townships have been permitted
- Manufacturing units of essential goods, drugs, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing unit of IT hardware, jute industry with staggered shifts, manufacturing units of packaging material have been permitted
- Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction
- Standalone shops without any distinction of essentials & non-essentials have been permitted
- E-commerce activities are permitted only in respect of essential goods
- Private offices can operate up to 33% attendance
- Government offices shall function at full strength
- All agricultural & animal husbandry activities are permitted
- All health services are permitted
- Print & electronic media, IT services and call centres can operate
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Moreover, irrespective of zones, travel by air, rail, metro & inter-State movement by road; running of schools, colleges, & other educational & training/coaching institutions will remain prohibited. The Union Health Ministry has divided all districts across the nation as red (classified based on total active cases, doubling rate, extent of testing and surveillance), orange (those neither in green or red zones) and green zones (Zero cases for past 21 days).