As the lockdown 3.0 comes to an end, the nation gears up for the fourth phase of nationwide lockdown. The Ministry of Home Affairs announces the extension of lockdown by two more weeks until May 31. The lockdown 4.0 is necessary to curb the spread of coronavirus cases in the country as the tally keeps on mounting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 11 announced the fourth phase of lockdown stating that the guidelines will be available before May 18. The Ministry of Home Affairs announces a new set of guidelines on Sunday evening.
What will be different in lockdown 4.0?
PM Modi in his speech said that the fourth phase of lockdown will be completely different and will come with a new set of guidelines. Well, nothing much seems different but the new guidelines have come with significant relaxations in the fourth phase.
The relaxation in curbs is expected to lift up the economy. States and UTs will now have the power to define the hotspots and take actions accordingly. Resumption of railways and domestic airlines will not take place immediately.
Railways and domestic airlines may resume their services from next week but only for essential operations. The full-fledged operations of these two sectors will not resume anytime soon.
In lockdown 4.0 the green zones will completely reopen, very few curbs will be there in orange zones and strict restrictions in the containment areas of red zones. Schools, colleges, malls and cinema halls will remain closed throughout the country.
Other prohibited activities.
According to reports, buses, metros, local trains, taxis and autos will remain prohibited. Any form of social gathering be it religious, political or personal will remain prohibited. Not more than 50 people can attend a wedding ceremony whereas only 20 people can attend a funeral.
The government allows inter-state movement of cars and buses but with some restrictions. These road movements however can only take place with the mutual consent of the states and UTs. The inter-state movement will continue to follow the SOP announced in the previous phase.
According to the new guidelines, the “night curfew” will continue from the previous phase. The movement of an individual shall remain prohibited between 7pm to 7am except for essential activities. Individuals above the age of 65, pregnant women and children should stay in their homes except for essential purposes.
Few states were already in favour of the extension of lockdown till May 31. Maharashtra which has the highest number of Covid19 cases announces the extension of lockdown till May 13 before MHA’s announcement. According to reports, Maharashtra will continue the fourth phase of lockdown with previous guidelines. There will be no ease in restrictions in the state due to the rising number of cases.
Following Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Mizoram also made an announcement of extending lockdown till May 31 before the MHA’s official announcement.
The Five Zones.
Earlier to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the government classified the districts into three zones i.e, red, orange and green zones. MHA in its new guideline announces that now the states have the power to decide and divide the zones on the basis of the number of cases in the district.
Instead of three zones now there will be five zones that states will have to classify the hotspots into. Red, orange, green, containment and buffer zones are the five zones. The States and UTs will now have the power to decide if they want to open or prohibit certain activities in certain areas.