New Delhi: As some economic activities are going to start from Monday amid the nationwide lockdown, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday night issued certain guidelines for officials who are going to attend offices and advised them to take precautionary measures including social distancing and meetings only through video conferencing. Also Read - Pakistan Records 733 New Coronavirus Cases in Past 24 Hours; Tally Rises to 8,212
Issuing the guidelines, the Health Ministry said if any symptoms of the virus show up in any person, they should leave office immediately and the leave should be sanctioned for home quarantine. Also Read - Coronavirus Crisis: Sri Lanka to Relax Nationwide Curfew From Monday
In the guidelines, the ministry also stated that the people residing in containment zones will have to follow instruction of the local authorities and more than 5 people should not assemble at one place. Also Read - First Time in 250 Years, Popular Ramazan Market in Mumbai to be Closed During Holy Month Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Ahead of this directive, the Centre has asked all the states and the Union Territories (UTs) to suitably modify their lockdown norms in pursuance to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to reflect the correct position.
Writing a letter to Chief Secretaries and the administrators concerned in all the states and the UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that they should alert their field agencies to ensure smooth movement of the entire supply chain of essential goods, including the e-commerce.
Addressing a press conference, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said some industrial activity in the green and orange COVID-19 zones in the state will be resumed in a restricted manner from Monday.
However, Telangana, Punjab and Delhi decided not to ease the lockdown restrictions. The Delhi and Punjab governments said there will be no relaxations till May 3, while the K Chandrasekhar Rao government in Telangana on Sunday night extended the lockdown till May 7.
The Karnataka government decided to take the ‘wait and watch’ approach and said will take the decision after reviewing the situation in the state. However, the state said that there will be no relaxations till Tuesday midnight and a final decision in this regard will be taken at a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
The Centre, earlier in the day, prohibited e-commerce companies from selling non-essential items during the lockdown.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said the migrant workers, who are stranded in different parts of the country due to the lockdown, will be allowed to go to their respective places of work within a state with certain conditions.
The MHA said that since additional activities, outside the containment zones, have been permitted in the ‘consolidated revised guidelines’ with effect from April 20, these workers could be engaged in industrial, manufacturing, construction, farming and MNREGA works.
As per the revised order, agriculture, construction, Information Technology (IT), industrial units in the SEZs and rural areas and e-commerce operations were among the selected sectors where the lockdown restrictions are to be lifted from April 20.
The announcement to this effect was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 while declaring the extension of the three-week nationwide lockdown for another 19 days till May 3.
Apart from this, plumbers, motor mechanics, carpenters will also be allowed giving relief to people looking for such facilities. Highway ‘dhaba’ (eateries), truck repairing shops and call centres for government activities will remain open from April 20.
The Punjab government said sand and gravel mining and stone crushing have been permitted as part of the construction-related activities from Monday.
As per the order, both government and private industries and industrial establishments operating in rural areas — outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities will be allowed to operate.
Manufacturing, industrial units with access control in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), export oriented units, industrial estates, industrial townships will also be allowed.
Shops selling agriculture machinery and those dealing with spare parts, supply chains and repairs as well as ‘custom hiring centres’ related to farm machinery will also be open from Monday.
Units manufacturing drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical infrastructure, including manufacture of ambulances, will also be opened.
In another development, the Health Ministry said that the activities which will be prohibited till May 3 are primarily passenger traffic movement by air, rail and road, educational institutions, industrial commercial activities and hospitality services unless they are specifically exempted.
Along with these, cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, entertainment parks will be closed while social, political, cultural, religious or academic and sports gatherings will continue to remain prohibited. Moreover, taxis and cab aggregators will also not be allowed to operate.