There will be no relaxation of lockdown restrictions in containment zones in COVID-19 hotspot areas from April 20 while only selective relaxation will be given in non-containment zones, the Union Health Ministry informed on Sunday. In several parts of India, particularly in rural areas, economic activities will be allowed to restart partially from Monday, in phase one of gradual easing of nearly a month-long nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of novel Coronavirus.
"As mentioned by PM, from April 20 onwards, i.e. tonight, selective relaxation will be given in non-containment areas. Areas in hotspot districts will not be given any relaxation. States and Union Territories may impose measures which are even more stringent than the Government of India's guidelines, according to local requirements," Joint Secretary for Health, Lav Aggarwal told in a press briefing.
He added that for places where selective relaxations are granted, states and districts must ensure that existing lockdown measures are strictly complied with and preparatory actions as per SOPs related to social distancing are followed.
Explaining more on the issue, the official said that hotspots are areas with large COVID-19 outbreaks or clusters with a significant spread and within such areas, the local administration demarcates containment zones and buffer zones to control the spread of the deadly virus. "No relaxation will be permitted in containment zones, strict perimeter control will have to be done. Only essential services will be allowed here," Aggarwal said.
Passenger traffic— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 19, 2020
Industrial / commercial activities (unless exempted specifically)
Cinema halls, malls
Social & religious gatherings
Religious places of worship
Taxis & cab aggregators
will be prohibited all over the country till May 3
Agriculture and rural economy to be functional— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 19, 2020
Employment opportunities for daily wage earners
Supply chain of essential goods
- some activities have been permitted, effort is to restore normalcy gradually, ensuring "Jaan bhi hai Jahan bhi Hai" - @MoHFW_INDIA
The Health Ministry also said that the criteria based on which relaxations have been given are dynamic. Speaking more on the subject, the joint secretary said, "If new COVID-19 cases arise in these (non-hotspot) places, then these places can also become part of red zones and containment zones, where strict lockdown measures will be implemented."
The government has already compiled a list of COVID-affected districts and has categorised them into three different zones (Red, Orange, Green) based on the severity of the outbreak and its progression curve.