Headlines May 16, 2020
Lockdown phase 4 – What may be lifted
On 18 May, the fourth phase of the Covid-19 lockdown will come into effect. According to media reports, there will be some relaxation in public transport wherever possible. This includes transport on ground and in the air.
The decision on the boundaries will be left to the states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked all stated to draw a blueprint depending on the situation on the ground and share it with the Centre before drawing up the guidelines for phase 4.
One of the key demands made by the states is that they be given the power to define their hotspots. The Centre is likely to grant this. PM Modi has made it clear that Lockdown phase 4 will have a completely different form, with new rules.
These are some of the new rules that are likely:
- There are reports that local buses will start running with limited capacity in non-hotspot zones. Autos and taxis will also be allowed, with restrictions on the number of passengers. Most of these will be allowed to ply within the districts in non-containment zones.
- Interstate travel may also be opened up but only for those with travel passes.
- Air travel on domestic sectors may be allowed from next week.
- Permission is also likely to be given for home delivery of all kinds of goods instead of just essential items.
Maharashtra, which has the maximum number of cases and a proportional amount of people in quarantine, is planning to extend the lockdown. A few industries, he said, might be allowed in orange and green zones.
Gujarat, which has the second highest number of coronavirus cases, wants to resume all economic activity in all major urban centres. Almost 80% of cases are in the state’s urban centres, which are Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara. Some relaxations may be given in districts where no cases have been reported.
Kerala wants resumption of metro services, local trains, domestic flights, restaurants and hotels to revive the tourism sector according to reports.
Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha want to continue with stricter lockdown as their cases are increasing due to the return of migrant workers.
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