New Delhi: The Centre of Friday extended the ongoing lockdown by two weeks starting from May 4. This will be the third phase of the lockdown, which, however, is more like a “limited lockdown” as several activities have been allowed in this phase, in low-risk areas, that is, where there have been no COVID-19 cases, or where there have been no cases in the last 21 days. Also Read - Good News: After Jharkhand, Now Zomato And Swiggy Start Home Delivery of Alcohol in Odisha

But this can be seen as India’s staggered exit plan from the crisis. Here’s why Also Read - Only 7-day Hotel Quarantine For Foreign Returnees, They Can’t be Charged For 14 Days, MHA Writes to States

Extension was inevitable Also Read - Passenger on Chennai-Coimbatore IndiGo Flight Tests Positive For COVID-19, Crew Members Grounded For 14 Days

Even before the lockdown was extended, several states decided to continue with the restrictions to minimise the spread of the infection. In fact, the extension of the lockdown was inevitable. The chief ministers, too, were in favour of an extension.

Curve Being Flattened?

The death toll on Friday rose to 1,152 with 77 fatalities reported since Thursday evening, while the number of cases saw a record jump of 1,755 to go up to 35,365 cases on Friday, according to the Union health ministry. This is not a time when the restrictions can be lifted. While there are significant improvements in several areas, the overall picture is still far away from being anywhere near the light at the end of the tunnel.

Buses, Cabs, Private Cabs Allowed

In great relief, the Centre is allowing buses, private cabs and cab services to ply in the green zone areas. There are several conditions on those as well. But it will be a litmus test for other zones.

E-Commerce Allowed

E-commerce activities are also being allowed. While in green and orange zones, all activities are allowed, in red zones e-commerce is allowed only for essential services.

Migrants being taken care of

In a major move, the Centre has allowed the railways to run special trains to transport workers, students, tourists.

The Union Health Ministry listed 130 districts in the country in the red zone, 284 in the orange zone and 319 in the green zone. Major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad have been designated as red zones in the new classification. This classification of districts is to be followed by states and UTs till May 10 and the will be revised on a weekly basis or earlier if required. With these zones being reviewed every week, states will gradually exit the lockdown once the situation improves. While it won’t be an exit for all states at once, the route lies clearer now.