New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said that states and union territories will not be allowed to restrict guidelines issued by it for the fourth phase of the COVID-19 lockdown, which came in effect today. Also Read - Defying Lockdown Norms, Thousands of Migrants Gather at Ram Lila Maidan in Ghaziabad For Buses

A letter in this regard was written by Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to Chief Secretaries of states and union territories. Also Read - Karnataka Lockdown 4.0 Guidelines: Complete Shutdown on Sundays, No Entry of People From 4 States Till May 31

“As emphasized in my earlier letters, I’d not like to reiterate again that states/union territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed in the home ministry guidelines. Based on their assessment of the situation, they may prohibit certain other activities in various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary,” the Home Secretary wrote in his letter. Also Read - Lockdown 4.0 in Punjab: Auto, Taxis Allowed to Ply in Non-Containment Zones - Read Full List of Services Resumed in State

“I would urge you to ensure compliance of the new guidelines, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation,” the letter stated further.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation last Tuesday, had announced extension of the nationwide lockdown, which is in effect since March 25; this was the third extension of the lockdown. However, while saying that the fourth phase will be ‘in a completely new form,’ he added that the details would be given before May 18, the first day of lockdown 4.0.

Then, on Sunday, the last day of the third phase of the lockdown, it was announced that the lockdown has been extended for a further two weeks, till May 31. However, this time, state governments have been given the freedom to mark green, orange and red zones (and buffer and containment zones within it) for their respective states.

A number of states like Karnataka and Punjab have already announced the guidelines, while others, including Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, are likely to do so soon.