As we were approaching nearer to the end of lockdown 4.0 , on 30th May 2020 , Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a new guideline for reopening the nation (Unlock 1) in a phased manner, starting with None- Containment Zones. The Lockdown in the Containment Zones will continue till June 30, 2020. The Lockdown was a SCIENCE then the Unlocking will be an ART.
COVID-19 was declared as Pandemic and a Disaster. On March 24, 2020, nationwide 1st Lock Down was announced to curb the spread of the COVID-19, which was as per the directives of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued under Disaster Management Act, 2005. Considering the increase in number of infections and patients, NDMA continued with Lock Down one after the other as follow:
1. Lock Down 1.0 was from March 25 , 2020 to April 15, 2020
2. Lock Down 2.0 was from April 15, 2020 to May 01, 2020
3. Lock Down 3.0 was from May 01, 2020 to May 17, 2020
4. Lock Down 4.0 was from May 17, 2020 to May 31, 2020
As lockdown 4.0 came to an end, NDMA directed Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and MHA on May 30, 2020 vide its Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) released the new guidelines for reopening the Nation (Unlock 1) in a phased manner only outside the Containment Zone areas. The Lockdown in Containment Zones will continue as the same is extended till June 30, 2020.
These guidelines have come into effect from June 1, 2020 and will continue to remain in force till June 30, 2020. States/UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment Zones, or impose such restrictions as it may deem necessary.
A. PHASED RE-OPENING OF AREAS OUTSIDE THE CONTAINMENT ZONES
All activities that were prohibited earlier are now allowed in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with the stipulation of following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
A1. Phase I –The following activities will be allowed from June 08, 2020
1. Religious places/ places of worship for public.
2. Hotels, Restaurants and other Hospitality services.
3. Shopping Malls
MoHFW will issue SOPs for the above activities, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.
A2. Phase II- Date yet to be notified
1. Schools, colleges, educational/training/coaching institutions etc. will be opened after consultations with States and UTs.
State governments/ UT administrations are being advised to hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the feedback, a decision on the re-opening of these institutions will be taken in the month of July 2020. MoHFW will prepare SOP in this regard, in consultation with the Central Ministries/ Departments concerned and other stakeholders, for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19.
A3. Phase III- Date yet to be notified
Limited number of activities will remain prohibited under this phase. Based on the assessment of the situation, dates for restarting the following activities will be decided:
1. International Air Travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
2. Metro Rail.
3. Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
4. Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions and other large congregations.
B. NATIONAL DIRECTIVES FOR COVID-19 MANAGEMENT
1. Face coverings: Wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places; in workplaces; and during transport.
2. Social Distancing: Individuals must maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet (2 gaz ki doori) in public places. Shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not allow more than 5 persons at one time.
3. Gatherings: Large public gatherings/ congregations continue to remain prohibited.
Marriage related gatherings: Number of guests not to exceed 50.
Funeral/ last rites related gatherings: Number of persons not to exceed 20.
4. Spitting in public places will be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State/ UT local authority in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations.
5. Consumption of liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc. in public places is prohibited.
Additional Directives for work place
6. Work from home (WFH): As far as possible, the practice of WFH should be followed
7. Staggering of work/ business hours will be followed in offices, work places, shops, markets, and industrial & commercial establishments.
8. Screening and Hygiene: Provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas.
9. Frequent sanitization of entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact e.g. door, handles etc., will be ensured, including between shifts.
10. Social Distancing: All persons in charge of work places will ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch breaks of staff, etc.
C. NIGHT CURFEW
The movement of individuals shall remain strictly prohibited between 9.00 pm to 5.00 am throughout the Country, except for essential activities. Local authorities shall issue orders in the entire area of their jurisdiction, under appropriate provisions of law, to ensure strict compliance.
D. LOCKDOWN LIMITED TO CONTAINMENT ZONES
1. Lockdown shall continue to remain in force in Containment Zones till June 30, 2020.
2. Containment zones will be demarcated by the District Authorities after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW.
3. In these zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. In Containment Zones, there shall be intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions, as required. Guidelines of MoHFW shall be taken into consideration for the above purposes.
4. States/ UTs may also identify Buffer Zones outside Containment Zones, where new cases are more likely to occur. Within the Buffer Zones, restrictions as considered necessary may be put in place by the District authorities.
E. UNRESTRICTED MOVEMENT OF PERSONS AND GOODS
1. There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate approval/ permission/ e-permit will be required for such movements.
2. However, if a State/UT, based on reasons of public health and its assessment of the situation, proposes to regulate movement of persons, it will give wide publicity in advance regarding the restrictions to be placed on such movement, and the related procedures to be followed.
3. Movement by passenger trains and Shramik special trains; domestic passenger air travel; movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the Country and of specified persons to travel abroad; evacuation of Foreign Nationals; and sign-on and sign-off of Indian Seafarers will continue to be regulated as per SOPs issued.
4. No State/UTs shall stop the movement of any type of goods/cargo for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries.
F. PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE PERSONS
Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
G. USE OF AAROGYA SETU
1. Aarogya Setu enables early identification of potential risk of infection, and thus acts as a shield for individuals and the community.
2. With a view to ensuring safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones.
3. District authorities may advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk.
H. STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF THE GUIDELINES
1. State/ UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.
2. All the District Magistrates shall strictly enforce the above measures.
I. PENAL PROVISION
Any person violating these measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Section 188 of IPC, and other legal provisions as applicable.
MAXIMUM CONTAINMENT ZONES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
As of May 30, 2020, maximum Containment Zones are— Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi / New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata / Howrah, Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur, Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu). These cities also accounted for 70% of total COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Government is taking adequate measures to keep this Novel Corona Virus or COVID-19 Pandemic under control in India. There is no certainty of time by when we can get scientifically approved treatment or a vaccine to cure the disease from this Virus. This Virus is smarter than any human and first time across the globe people are under lock down for such a long period. People are more worried about their life than the livelihood or the lifestyle.
The Government now intend to unlock the Nation slowly, starting with unlocking the prohibited activities in areas other than the Containment Zone and then review the situation. Dr. Sanjay Oak, Chairman of Taskforce for COVID-19 in Maharashtra beautifully said that if Locking down was a SCIENCE, then the Unlocking is an ART. He also advised to follow the protocol. All Health Care givers are continuously advising that the only remedy as on date is to control the spread of infection by remembering these THREE letters SMS== S is Sanitization of hands, M is Masking all the time and S is Social Distancing. This Virus has confirmed one thing, that we all are united and equal. Virus is impartial to caste, race, colour, geography and rich or poor. We all as a member of Society need to follow the Rules, Law and Guidelines issued by the Government.
There is great influence of Law on behaviour of Society, may it be banning Smoking in public places, Drink & Drive punishment, No Gender Discrimination, Banning of Plastic etc. The Law works and people follow the law or rule, when they are explained the benefit of it for larger interest of community, change the norms for future is like a MISSION and inclusiveness in its implementation.
Let’s all take a vow to follow the Law and Guidelines and act responsibly for the healthy family, community, nation and humanity.