At 10 am on Tuesday, April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived on our phone and TV screens to give us some good-bad news. The nationwide lockdown that was initially imposed for 21 days and was to end on April 14, was going to be extended until May 3. Looking at the rise in number of Coronavirus cases (11,487 so far), this measure is much welcome. And now, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has Issued a fresh set of guidelines to be followed during Lockdown 2.0, which included some minor relaxations for certain services and sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing of essentials, e-commerce of essentials and others.
n his address to the nation on Tuesday morning, PM Modi had announced that depending on the incidence of cases, some regions will be granted relaxations of lockdown rules, come April 20. However, what these relaxations where, was not revealed. Furthermore, this relief would be granted at the discretion of the respective state governments, and if the number of cases were to spike again, or the rules broken, the stringent lockdown would be reinstated.
On Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Home Affairs released the guidelines that will be followed during Lockdown 2.0. Apart from continuing to suspend all transport including like air, rail, bus, international and inter-state travel, the guidelines also direct that social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship, educational institutions, and coaching centres shall continue to be closed till May 3.
In addition, the MHA also issued National Directives for COVID-19 Management, which includes mandatory face masks when stepping outside, ban on the sale of liquor, tobacco, gutka, and the standard operating procedures for maintain social distancing and sanitation in workspaces, offices, factories and establishments that fall under essential services and remain operational.
It is to be noted that while state governments may not loosen this tight measures, they are at the liberty of enforcing stricter ones if the need arises.