New Delhi: The nationwide lockdown to fight coronavirus has been extended till June 30, but malls, restaurants and religious places can reopen from June 8 except in containment zones, or areas sealed because of a large number of virus cases.
Hotels and restaurants will also be allowed from June 8 but cinemas, schools and international flights will be reopened only after an assessment, the home ministry said in new guidelines on Saturday ordering phased re-opening of areas outside containment zones.
Night curfew timings in Lockdown 5.0 will be changed to 9 pm-5 am from the existing 7 pm-7 am.
There will be no restrictions on movement of people or goods within states and between states. But states can decide whether to regulate movement based on their assessment.
“The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus,” said the government, stating that the guidelines are based on extensive consultations held with States and Union Territories.
All activities banned earlier will be opened up in areas outside Containment Zones in a phased manner, with SOPs to be prescribed by the Union Health Ministry.
A decision on reopening schools and colleges will be taken in July, after consultations with states, parents and other stake-holders.
International flights, metros, cinemas gyms, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and bars will also be allowed only after more consultations, “based on the assessment of the situation”, said the ministry.
Social, political, religious, cultural and other gatherings will stay banned for now.
In containment zones, only essential activities will be allowed till June 30. Exits and entry will be strictly controlled and there will be intensive contact tracing and house-to-house surveillance in these areas, the government said.
India went into strict lockdown on March 25 to control the rapid spread of coronavirus. Since then, there have been three extensions with incremental easing of curbs. Today, the lockdown was extended for the fourth time.
Across the country, the number of COVID-19 cases has crossed 1.7 lakh and there have been close to 5,000 deaths.
Alongside the guidelines, the government reiterated the new normal for life after coronavirus — compulsory face cover in public places, social distancing and not more than five persons at shops, not more than 50 wedding guests and not more than 20 people at funerals, Work From Home as much as possible, staggered work or business hours and thermal scanners and frequent sanitization.