The continuing spread of COVID-19 cases has created chaos among the people. Therefore, physical distancing and following the lockdown strictly are the only way to avoid the infection of coronavirus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the lockdown period till May 3. To ensure that essential goods and services reach the people during the coronavirus lockdown period, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued some guidelines for the Central and state governments as well as for the public.
Revised Guidelines for COVID-19 Lockdown Period by Home Ministry:
Essential offices function as usual
The ministry has decided to close down several Central and Public Corporation offices during the period of lockdown. However, several Union government offices and departments which are essential for governance and public dealings will be functioned as usual.
Govt closes public transport
With the announcement of the extension of the lockdown till May 3, several activities will not take place across the country. The plane, train bus, and metro rail services for the passengers will remain suspended except for security purposes. The government has issued a notice of the closure of educational institutions, places of worship, the congregation of people at any place. In the case of funerals, not more than twenty persons will be allowed to perform the last rite.
Ban on gatherings
The government has asked for the closure of all the cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, swimming pools, and entertainment parks. Along with these, all the social, political, sports or any gatherings will not take place at any cost during the time of shut down.
Essential offices remain open
The Union government has made it clear that offices such as defence and armed forces, Food Corporation of India (FCI), customs, central armed forces, treasury, and so on will function with the bare minimum staff to keep the officials safe from COVID-19.
Only experts can visit hotspots
The regions which are identified as the hotspots of COVID-19 outbreak, in such places only medical teams, essential service providers and those who are maintaining law and order will be allowed to visit. Otherwise, there would be no inward or outward movement of anyone from such areas.
Medical establishments to function
All the medical establishments, including AYUSH will work as usual, including manufacturing and distributing units as the COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day. Authorised private establishments that are providing necessary services in the fight against COVID-19 are allowed to participate in work.
Encouragement of home delivery
The supply chain of essential goods will operate. Ration shops, milk booths and other essential-item shops will remain open so that people don’t face difficulties. The administration has been encouraging the home delivery facilities to minimise the movement of the people outside their homes.
Govt restores essential services
Hence, the operation of postal services including post offices, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG), water, sanitation, waste sector management, telecommunication, internet services, petrol pumps, and many more will remain in service.
Important units will operate
Industrial set up will stay close, but some of the important manufacturing units such as essential goods, medical devices and transportation of essential items are functioning as usual. Transport services will remain close till the lockdown period, but Inter-state movement of goods/cargo for inland and exports have been doing their business as usual for the welfare of the people.
Hotels to be used for quarantine
Hotel services have been suspended, but hotels may be used for quarantine facilities. Hotels have to accommodate those who are trapped due to lockdown and hotel owners will have to provide rooms to medical staff.
Media to function
Several commercial and private establishments such as print and electronic media, IT establishments can function with over 50 per cent strength. Courier services, warehouses, data, and call centres can also operate only for government activities, private securities and services.
Use private vehicles in emergency
Private vehicles can be used in case of emergency, including medical or getting essential commodities in such conditions. One passenger along with a driver may be allowed, and in case of two-wheeler, only the driver of the vehicle is to be approved for the movement.
No respite for police
The Union ministry has also urged the state governments to follow the guidelines strictly. Therefore, some of the offices will remain closed. But the staff of several departments will have to reach office for the smooth sailing of the state governments. Police, home guards, administrators, municipal bodies and other essential offices will continue their function with bare minimum staff.
MNREGA works allowed
The government permits MNREGA works, but the workers will have to maintain physical distance, and the use of the face mask is essential for them. Priority will be given to irrigation and water conservation work.
The government has made some norms for the welfare of the public such as wearing masks is compulsory at the public places or workplaces, no spitting in public places, ban on the sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco and so on. The Union government is set to take strict action against the violators of the lockdown