Unlock 2: Most curbs to be retained, curfew to be eased in battle against COVID-19

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Unlock 2: Most curbs to be retained, curfew to be eased in battle against COVID-19
Unlock 2: Most curbs to be retained, curfew to be eased in battle against COVID-19

New Delhi : While people were hoping great relaxations in second of three-phase unlockdown, the Central Government has announced that most curbs will be retained; educational institutions, Metro rail services and large gatherings will continue to remain banned, even as the night curfew was relaxed by an hour to aid economic activity.

The Union Home Ministry released the plan, known as Unlock 2, to ease out operation of more activities outside containment zones. The new guidelines will come to effect from July 1.

The new guidelines have been made after a complete discussion and considering suggestions from the states. The current phase to ease restrictions, called Unlock 1, ends on Tuesday.

After being in strict lockdown for 68 days, the country finally started to begin unlock last month to enable economic activities and revive dipping economy. On Monday, India reported 18,318 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the tally of infections to 567,344. There have been 16,901 deaths from the infectious disease so far.

The fresh guidelines said schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31. It added that Metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will also remain shut. Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will also continue to be banned.

"Dates for opening of these will be decided separately, based on the assessment of the situation," the Centre said.

Meanwhile, Central government relaxed night curfew timings by one hour and the new timings will be from 10 pm to 5 am. Previously, it was between 9pm and 5am. “Relaxations in night curfew have been given for seamless operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and movement of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes,” the guidelines said.

Domestic and international flights (under the Vande Bharat exercise) and passenger trains, already operational in a limited manner, will be further expanded in a calibrated manner, the home ministry said.

“Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till July 31,” the government’s advisory said. Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control will be maintained and only essential activities are allowed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the nation on Tuesday at 4 pm.