India extends its nationwide lockdown by two more weeks—but with some relaxations

Stay off the roads.
Stay off the roads.
Image: REUTERS/P. Ravikumar
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India today (May 1) announced a second extension to the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

The lockdown, announced on March 24, has now extended till May 18, according to a notification issued by the ministry of home affairs. Earlier, the shutdown was supposed to end on May 3.

These extended two weeks of the lockdown will be graded, with “considerable relaxations” being allowed based on the risk profiling of districts into “Red” (hotspot), “Green,” and “Orange” zones. However, travel by air, rail, and road will still remain suspended.

The Green zones are the areas with zero confirmed Covid-19 cases or no single positive case in the past 21 days. The total number of coronavirus cases in India stands at 35,365, which includes 1,152 people who have died of the disease.

The guidelines issued by the government state that individual movement for non-essential activities aren’t allowed between 7pm and 7am. The centre also directed local authorities to impose Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code (barring gathering of crowds) to ensure effective implementation.

These are some of the activities now allowed under the new edition of the lockdown:

  • Industrial institutions in urban areas, special economic zones, export-oriented units, industrial estates and townships may operate with access control.
  • Industrial activities, including manufacturing of essential goods, pharma units, jute, and IT hardware manufacturing, are allowed with norms of social distancing.
  • Construction in urban areas allowed, conditional upon availability of labour.
  • Neighbourhood shops to open without the distinction of essential and non-essential goods.
  • Private offices can function but only with 33% staff capacity.
  • E-commerce delivery of essential goods allowed in red zones.
  • Agricultural activities allowed.
  • Cab services allowed in Orange zones with one driver and two passengers.