The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued guidelines on the measures to be taken by Ministries/ Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Governments, and State/ Union Territory Authorities for containment of the COVID-19 epidemic in the country on March 24, 2020 (Annexure to the order). This was further modified on March 25, 2020 and March 27, 2020. A summary of these guidelines is available at https://jsacovid19.blogspot.com/2020/03/21-day-nationwide-lock-down-guidelines.html.
In furtherance to the guidelines issued on 24 March 2020 and the addenda on March 25, 2020 and March 27, 2020, certain clarifications have been issued by the Home Secretary on March 29, 2020. These clarifications are as follows:
- Transportation of all goods, without distinction between essential and non-essential goods, will be allowed;
- Pension and provident fund services provided by Employees Provident Fund Organisation shall remain functional;
- Services of the Indian Red Cross Society will continue to remain functional;
- Shops dealing with groceries, including hygiene products, such as hand wash, soap, disinfectants, body wash, shampoos, surface cleaners, detergents and tissue papers, toothpaste/oral care, sanitary pads and diapers, battery cells, chargers, etc. shall remain open;
- The entire supply chain of milk collection and distribution, including its packaging material shall remain functional; and
- Newspaper delivery supply chain shall also remain functional.
Further, the Central Government has allowed the use of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the benefit of homeless people, including migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown measures and sheltered in relief camps, and other places, in order to provide them food etc., as part of COVID-19 containment measures. The Ministry of Health Affairs has issued further orders under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, directing district authorities, to ensure strict implementation of additional measures to stop the movement of migrants, to provide them with quarantine facilities, shelter, food, etc.; and to protect their economic rights by ensuring payment of wages; and protecting them from eviction by landlords.