Unlock 5: The Centre on Wednesday came out with its latest guidelines for the ‘Unlock 5’ phase, from October 1 till October 31, allowing more economic activities outside the containment zones.Also Read - This UT Extends Covid-Induced Lockdown Till October 31. Details Inside

What are the major announcements under the ‘unlock 5’? Also Read - Fully Vaccinated Against Covid-19? You Can Now Travel to US From 8 November. 7 Things to Know

The Home Ministry has permitted opening of cinemas, theatres, multiplexes, entertainment parks, and swimming pools for training of sportspersons outside containment zones from October 15. Further, another major announcement is that states and UTs have been given power to decide reopening of schools and coaching institutions after October 15 in a graded manner. Higher Education Institutions, only for research scholars and post-graduate students in science and technology streams that require laboratory or experimental work will be permitted to open from October 15. Meanwhile, Business to Business exhibitions will also be permitted to open from October 15, for which SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce. Also Read - UK Further Relaxes Travel Guidelines, Allows Cheaper COVID Tests For Fully Vaccinated Tourists Including From India

What has changed from Unlock 4.0?

Cinemas, theatres, multiplexes, entertainment parks, and swimming pools were not permitted under unlock 4.0. In the last lockdown, students from class 9-12 could only go to schools on a voluntary basis to clear doubts; only 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff was permitted to come to schools for online classes.

In Unlock 4, the gathering of people for social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious and political functions was capped at 100 people. Under the Centre’s latest rules, the ceiling has been increased to 200 people or half the capacity of the hall. Wearing of face masks, maintaining social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and use of hand wash or sanitiser will, however, be mandatory.

Can states/UTs impose local lockdowns?

Meanwhile, the MHA reiterated that State and UT Governments must not impose any local lockdown , outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government. It also warned against restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. “No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements,” the MHA asserted.