New Delhi: As we approach the end of the fourth phase of coronavirus lockdown relaxations, speculations have been growing on what the next phase, which begins on October 1, may look like. While the West Bengal government has announced the reopening of cinema halls, the central government is yet to announce guidelines for the rest of the country.Also Read - Indonesia Travel Update: Indonesia Reopens For Singapore Travellers to Boost Tourism
In the recent virtual meeting with chief ministers of the seven worst-hit states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed upon the need to implement “micro-containment” zones instead of imposing local lockdowns and curfews for one or two days a week. Also Read - Kerala Govt Imposes Fresh Curbs In State's Capital Amid Current Covid Situation | Check Guidelines Here
As the festive season closes in, it is likely that the Centre may announce a series of relaxations, opening up more activities for the public. But before we delve into what may be relaxed, it is important to note how curfews will look like further moving on. Also Read - Assam Tightens COVID Curbs, Non-Vaccinated People Banned From Visiting Public Places
What are micro-containment zones?
Micro-containment zones aim at sealing a particular area as small as a building that has reported COVID-19 cases recently. This prevents from shutting down economic activities or movement to and from the larger portion of the area.
The Home Ministry had in its Unlock 4 guidelines specified that individual states cannot impose lockdowns on their own without consulting the Centre.
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While restaurants, malls, salons and gyms were allowed resumption this month, more economic activities may be allowed from October with physical distancing.
The Prime Minister also urged states to reassess containments and lockdowns in a way that curbs COVID spread. “Because of this, economic activity should not face problems… We have to increase our focus on effective testing, treating and surveillance, and clear messaging,” he said.
Despite high hopes and fervent requests by the Multiplex Association of India, MHA did not allow the resumption of movie halls, barring only open-air theatres, to reopen in September.
However, it must be noted that Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Amit Khare had last month suggested the MHA a sitting arrangement formula for movie theatres. According to the plan, alternate seats in the first and next rows will be kept vacant to maintain social distancing.
Notably, West Bengal became the first state to officially announce the resumption of cinema halls, along with all musical, dance, recital and magic shows from October 1, “with 50 participants or less”.
The tourism sector, which is still struggling to revive itself from the stark losses faced in the past five months, October may change the current state as tourist destinations are finally opening their doors to travellers.
Recently, the Uttarakhand government allowed tourist entry to the state without any negative report or institutional quarantine rules.
Schools have already begun on a voluntary basis for students of Class 9-12 and the same is likely to continue for the next month. As of now, primary classes are likely to remain shut and the same will continue through online mode.
Universities and colleges have begun taking admission tests and the new academic year may begin via online classes.