Lockdown 4.0: What states are saying about relaxations

Officials in several states said the guidelines defining containment zones, a key guidance document for enforcing lockdown 4.0, would come by Saturday.

Lockdown 4.0: What states are saying about relaxations

Several state governments want complete shutdowns only in containment zones allowing space for the resumption of almost all activities, except large social gatherings and educational institutions, during lockdown 4.0.

Officials in several states said the guidelines defining containment zones, a key guidance document for enforcing lockdown 4.0, would come by Saturday and it was likely to divide a district into red, orange and green zones, unlike the existing methodology of categorising an entire district as red, orange or green.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on Monday, had said that the lockdown 4.0 will have a “completely different form”, with new rules.

The current period of lockdown—the third since it was enforced on March 25—is scheduled to end on Sunday.

Here’s what is likely to happen during lockdown 4.0:

* It appears from the viewpoint expressed by government officials that states are likely to allow resumption of all industrial activities, offices and standalone markets from May 18 onwards.

* Public transport including autos and taxis would resume with certain restrictions on number of passengers along with intra-district travel, except for the containment zones. Interstate travel may also be opened up but only for those with travel passes.

* Permission is also likely to be given for all types of home delivery of goods, officials said.

* Educational institutions will continue to remain closed with several states expected to declare summer holidays from May end or June.

* Religious and political meetings are unlikely to be allowed for some more time apart from other activities that require or encourage mass gatherings or community participation including shopping in malls and other public places.

* Marriages and funerals would be allowed with limited attendees, officials said.

* Maharashtra, which has the maximum number of Covid cases, submitted its position to the Centre on extending the lockdown. The state is in favour of extension with more relaxations in less affected zones, so as to ensure economic activities resume gradually.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said that the decision about red zones will be taken by May 18, but the state government is considering easing the lockdown in non-affected areas in red-zone districts too. Largely affected cities like Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Nashik may also see relaxations in commercial operations.

* Delhi’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has said markets, malls, public transport, including the Delhi Metro, and all offices should be allowed to open with reduced footfall and staggered operations.

* Gujarat, which has the third highest number of Covid-19 cases, wants to resume all economic activity in all major urban centres except Ahmedabad, which accounts for state’s 70% cases.

* Some states may have state specific relaxations, for example, the Karnataka government is in the favour of resuming inter-state travel with mandatory 14-day quarantine for travellers.

* Even Rajasthan government favours inter-state travel. Kerala, however, wants inter-state travel only on the basis of a pass while Bihar and Jharkhand are opposed to inter-state travel of individuals and have requested the Centre for a guidance document.

* Telangana, which has extended lockdown till May 29, is likely to announce more relaxations in sectors such as information technology and real estate.

* Kerala wants resumption of metro services, local trains, domestic flights, restaurants and hotels to revive the tourism sector.

* Karnataka may open restaurants, hotels and gymnasiums. Andhra Pradesh has proposed resumption of all activities except in containment areas. Both Himachal and Uttarakhand would allow hotels and resorts to open with limited capacity.

* Tamil Nadu, another industrial state, plans to open all places except containment areas.

* Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has asked for an extension of the lockdown, stating during the meeting with PM Modi that “we must have strong lockdown. I will ensure a curfew”.

* Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha want to continue with stricter lockdown as their Covid-19 cases are increasing due to the return of migrant workers. Jharkhand’s rural development minister Alamgir Alam said the state will allow all standalone shops and will provide work to migrant workers, who have returned home.