New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday (August 29, 2020) issued new guidelines allowing more activities in the areas outside the COVID-19 containment zones.
Under Unlock 4.0, metro trains will be allowed to operate with effect from September 7, in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with the MHA. With regard to this, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MoHUA.
Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from September 21 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with the mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
"Open-air theatres will also be allowed to open with effect from September 21, 2020," read MHA's official statement.
Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to September 30, 2020.
Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
The following will be permitted, in areas outside the containment zones only from September 21, 2020:
1) States/ UTs may permit up to 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching, tele-counselling and related work.
2) Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the containment zones only, on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to the written consent of their parents and guardians.
3) Skill or Entrepreneurship training will be permitted 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 other Ministries of Government of India or State Governments. The National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted.
Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (PhD) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory and experimental works. These will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view the incidence of COVID-19 in the States/ UTs.
All activities, except the following, shall be permitted outside containment zones:
1) Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open-air theatre) and similar places.
2) International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
Lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the COVID-19 containment zones till September 30, 2020, and the containment zones will be demarcated by the District authorities at micro-level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control will be maintained and only essential activities allowed. These containment zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.
"The State and UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government," read the official statement.
"There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements," it added.
National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.
MHA stated that vulnerable persons, ie, 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 meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.
"The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged," said MHA.