The Union Ministry of Home Affairs clarified on Thursday that food processing units in urban areas and prepaid mobile recharge utilities are exempted from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
MHA spokesperson Punya Salila Srivastava also informed that in-house caregivers of senior citizens are exempted from restrictions. Further, the Ministry has also allowed activities related to import and export of horticulture produce.
"To ensure the availability of essentials, food processing units in urban areas such as milk processing units, bread factories and flour mills have also been exempted," said Srivastava during a press conference.
The country is observing a complete lockdown till May 3 as a preventive measure to contain the spread of coronavirus. Shops selling electric fans and academic books for students have also been allowed to operate by the Ministry.
"Considering that Indian seafarers are stranded and/or are not able to join duty and that seafarers from other countries may take place of Indian seafarers, MHA has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on sign-on/sign-off for Indian seafarers at Indian ports and their movement," she said.
Srivastava added that some states have permitted commercial activities as per MHA guidelines, in areas apart from hotspots or containment zones.
Further, ensuring the safety of health care professionals, the MHA has asked the states to coordinate with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) local chapter and take requisite steps for their security.
Coronavirus cases in India stands at 21393, of which 4257 persons have recovered and 681 have succumed to the infection. Lockdown restrictions, particularly in rural areas, have been eased to restart some economic activity.
India has suspended all visas and barred travel from Afghanistan, Philippines, EU, UK, China, Malaysia, and mandatory 14-day quarantine from several other countries. PM Modi has extended the lockdown till May 3, with a relaxation possibility in non-COVID hotspots since April 20.
(With inputs from ANI)