Lockdown extended; states and UTs asked to delineate zones

Updated: May 18, 2020, 08:00 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

India sees 4,987 cases in 24 hours, reports 120 Coronavirus deaths

Migrant workers eat inside a truck while they return to their hometowns, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Pic/AFP
Migrant workers eat inside a truck while they return to their hometowns, on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Pic/AFP

Prohibition on all public gatherings, closure of schools, malls and restaurants, and suspension of flight and Metro services will remain in force till May 31 as the government on Sunday extended the ongoing countrywide lockdown to combat the COVID-19 spread.

The Union home ministry issued a nine-page guideline listing the dos and don'ts during the lockdown 4.0 that has been clamped in the country to cut the chain of Coronavirus infection. The guidelines came soon after the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) extended the national lockdown beyond Sunday till May-end. It said all domestic, international air travel of passengers, except domestic air ambulance, will remain prohibited.

Metro rail services, schools, colleges will remain closed till May end, the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said. Hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, malls, swimming pools, gyms will also remain shut even as all social, political, religious functions, and places of worship will be closed till May 31, it said. The MHA said inter-state movement of passenger vehicles, buses will be allowed with mutual consent of states involved during the COVID-19 lockdown 4.0.

States and Union Territories have been given the powers for delineation of Red, Green and Orange Zones as per COVID-19 situation, the MHA said. All shops, except those in containment zones and malls, will be allowed to open from Monday with staggered timings during lockdown 4.0, it said.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 2,872 and the number of total positive cases climbed to 90,927 on Sunday morning, registering an increase of 120 fatalities and a record jump of 4,987 new cases in 24 hours, since 8 am on Saturday, according to the Union Health Ministry.

The number of active COVID-19 cases stands at 53,946, while 34,108 people have recovered and one patient has migrated, it said. "Thus, around 37.51 per cent patients have recovered so far," a senior health ministry official said. Three states have reported over 10,000 cases so far with Maharashtra being the worst hit at 30,706 infections, followed by Gujarat (10,988) and Tamil Nadu 10,585.

Tamil Nadu extends lockdown till May 31

The COVID-19 lockdown was on Sunday extended till May 31 in Tamil Nadu by Chief Minister K Palaniswami who announced new relaxations such as resumption of intra-district transportation in 25 districts after a hiatus of nearly two months. In 12 other districts, including Chennai, there will be no change in the curbs and they will continue as existed during the third phase of lockdown, set to end on Sunday, he added. Citing consultations with top officials, public health and medical experts, he said the lockdown is extended till May 31 and the curbs, including bar on functioning of educational institutions, public entry into religious places and relaxations already in force will continue throughout the state.

Rlys make quarantine rules stricter

After passengers on board a special train to Bengaluru refused to be quarantined, the IRCTC has now decided that only those who agree to follow the quarantine protocol of the destination states will be allowed to book tickets on its portal. The new rule, mentioned in a pop-up on its website, reads, "I have read the health advisory issued by my destination state. I accept and shall abide by the same" and requires the passenger to click on 'I agree' to move forward and book tickets. The rule comes days after around 50 passengers who arrived in Bengaluru from Delhi on May 14 refused to be quarantined at an institutional facility and created a ruckus at the station.

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