The lockdown declared by the Prime Minister on March 24 has been extended well beyond May 3rd by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday. Under the Disaster Management Act 2005, the Government of India has demarcated districts into Red, Orange and Green zones. The Green Zones are the districts with either zero confirmed cases till date or no confirmed case in the last 21 days. The Red Zones are classified on the basis of the total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, the extent of testing and surveillance feedback from the districts. Those districts, which are neither defined as Red nor Green, are classified as Orange zones. The MHA had earlier issued a list of current zone-wise listing of the districts across the country. This list will be updated every week.
While Lockdown 3.0 is not going to be as restrictive, major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Ahmadabad will still be under strict lockdown. Although some curbs will apply across the country, there will be considerable relaxations in districts in green and orange zones to revive economic activity that has been stalled during the tough restrictions in place since March 25. No activity except most essential will be allowed in containment zones.
- Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road will remain banned. Schools, colleges, hotels, restaurants; cinemas, malls, shopping centres, gyms and sports complexes will also stay shut.
- Gatherings (social, political, cultural and religious) will also not resume for now. In red zones, cars with two persons besides the driver and two-wheeler with a single rider will be allowed.
- Single shops can open in urban areas, whether for essential or non-essential goods. E-Commerce will be allowed for essential goods. Banks, public utilities like power, water, sanitation, waste management, telecommunications and internet will remain open, and courier and postal services will be allowed to operate.
- Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka and tobacco will be allowed in green and orange zones (if states want) but they have to ensure six feet distance and not more than five people at a time.
- In the Green Zones, all activities will reopen except those banned across the country. But in these areas, buses can operate only with half the seating capacity. In the orange zones, taxis and cab aggregators will be allowed to operate with one passenger. Cars can have two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on a two-wheeler.
Meanwhile, the rating agency CRISIL has downgraded its growth forecast for India at 1.8% for the current fiscal year from the original 3.5%. While the advanced countries are facing huge contractions in their economy, this global recession is surely going to affect India with forecasts of even zero GDP growth. Maruti Suzuki has recorded zero sales in the month of April, a fear that was haunting the automobile sector since 2019. Construction, manufacturing and service sectors have been especially vulnerable and hard-hit with daily wage earners sitting on the brim of poverty.
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