Lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 has been in force in the country since 24 March 2020.
On 30 May 2020, pursuant to the direction of the National Disaster Management Authority under Section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order enumerating the guidelines for phased re-opening of activities which were prohibited during the lockdown in areas outside the designated containment zones. This order was to remain in force up to 30 June 2020.
On 29 June 2020, with a view to re-open more activities in the country, in a calibrated manner, in areas outside containment zones, the MHA issued the following detailed guidelines. The order has also extended the lockdown in containment zones up to 31 July 2020:
1. Activities permitted outside the Containment Zones:
All activities except the following are permitted:
- Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed till 31 July 2020. Online/ distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
- Training institutions of the Central and State Governments will be allowed to function from 15 July 2020, for which Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT).
- International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA;
- Metro Rail;
- Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls etc;
- Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations.
Domestic flights and passenger trains have already been allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.
2. Night Curfew:
(i) Movement of individuals between 9.00pm and 5.00am shall continue to be prohibited throughout the country, except for essential activities, including operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and travel of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes.
(ii) 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 essential and health purposes.
3. Lockdown in Containment Zones:
a) The order directs the District Authorities to demarcate the Containment Zones, on due consideration of the guidelines issued by the MoHFW;
b) It also imposes continuation of the lockdown in such zones until 31 July 2020;
c) Only essential activities are to be allowed in the Containment Zones;
d) Strict perimeter control shall be imposed in such zones to ensure that there is no movement of people in and out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and maintenance of supply of essential goods and services;
e) The Order also stipulates intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance, and other clinical interventions.
f) States and UTs may also identify Buffer zones outside the Containment Zones, where new cases are likely to occur. The Order allows the District authorities to exercise their discretion to impose restrictions within such buffer zones.
4. Movement of persons/ goods:
a) No restriction has been placed on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods including those for cross land-border trade under Treaties with neighbouring countries. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.b) Movement of the following persons are required to adhere to the respective SOPs:
(i) movement of person by train, issued vide Order dated May 11, 2020;
(ii) movement of Indian Nationals stranded outside the country and specified persons to travel abroad, issued vide Order dated May 5, 2020;
(iii) sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, issued vide Order dated April 21, 2020; and
(iv) domestic passenger air travel issued vide Order dated 21 May 2020.
The order also stipulates that the National Directives for COVID-19 Management, as specified in Annexure 1 of the 30 May 2020 order, must continue to be followed throughout the country.
The State/ UTs, based on assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities or impose any restrictions as deemed necessary, outside the Containment Zones.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, vide a letter dated 29 June 2020, reiterated to the States and Union Territories to not dilute any of the aforesaid restrictions and guidelines that have been issued.