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Unlock 4: MHA Tells States/UTs To Not Impose Local Lockdown Outside Containment Zones

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all chief secretaries of States/UTs to direct authorities for strict compliance of 'Unlock 4' guidelines release

Unlock 4

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all chief secretaries of States/UTs to direct authorities for strict compliance of 'Unlock 4' guidelines released Saturday evening.

He stressed that States/UTs cannot dilute restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) new guidelines and asked not to impose any local lockdown, outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central government. 

"I would urge you to ensure compliance of the guidelines on Unlock 4 and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation. Further, guidelines issued by the MHA and consequent orders issued by the respective State/UT government should be widely disseminated to the public," Bhalla said.

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As India's COVID-19 cases soar, the Centre extended the current lockdown limited to containment zones till 30 September. The MHA released the detailed guidelines under 'Unlock 4' allowing resumption of Metro Rail services, social gatherings upto 100 people with social distancing, open-air theatres. Schools, colleges and other institutions, cinema halls, swimming pools, theatres, and similar places will remain shut. Centre has also directed states to not impose any local lockdown outside containment zones without MHA approval and to allow free movement of people and goods throughout the nation.

Unlock 4 guidelines

As per MHA guidelines, metro services will resume from September 7, social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political congregations limited to 100 people and open-air theatres will be allowed to open will be allowed from 21 September. While educational institutions will remain shut, MHA has permitted certain activities. Here are the exemptions:

  • States to allow 50% of teaching & non-teaching staff in schools;
  • Students of Classes 9-12 can visit on voluntary basis, subject to written consent of parent/guardian;
  • Skill training will be allowed in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or state/central government;
  • Higher education institutions have been allowed to reopen for research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works.

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Previous Lockdowns

The Centre had first imposed a complete lockdown on March 25 for three weeks till April 15. It was then extended till April 30. On May 1, when the lockdown was re-imposed till May 15, the MHA eased restrictions flagging off Shramik trains and announcing an Aatma Nibhar Bharat package, to revive the economy. With more extensions, MHA then allowed the delineation of red, green and orange zones as per state and UT governments, taking the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) into consideration - with most states then coming up with their own guidelines- kicking off the 'unlock' stages.

(PTI Photo)

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