The nation-wide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by another 2 weeks from May 4 until May 17, according to a Ministry of Home Affairs order. Aarogya Setu has been made mandatory for all employees, both public and private. The head of the respective organisation will be responsible for ensuring “100% coverage of this app among employees”.

The order has been issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and will divide the districts into Red, Green and Orange Zones. Zones will be classified as per a letter issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on April 30, and will be shared with states and union territories every week. In areas demarcated as Containment Zones (areas with significant risk of infection) within Red and Orange Zones, local authority will ensure that there is “100% coverage of Aarogya Setu app” among the residents.

E-commerce operations are still restricted to only essential goods, but restrictions on physical shops have been significantly relaxed.

Classification of zones

Red (Hotspots) Zone: MoHFW will classify districts as Red Zones on the basis of total number of active cases, doubling rate of confirmed cases, extent of testing and surveillance feedback.

  • No taxis, cab aggregators, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws, buses. Apart from this, 4-wheelers can operate only with 1 driver and 2 passengers (the MHA confirmed this to MediaNama), and 2-wheeler cannot have a pillion rider.
  • In urban areas, manufacturing of IT hardware is allowed along with operations of SEZs, export oriented united, industrial estates and industrial townships with access control, manufacturing of essential goods (drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices), jute industry, and manufacturing units of packaging material. All industrial activities are permitted in rural areas.
  • E-commerce activities restricted to delivery of essential goods, but all standalone shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are allowed to remain open in urban areas “without any distinction of essential and non-essential”. Same is the case in rural areas where all shops, except in malls, are allowed to remain open without distinction between essential and non-essential goods. Social distancing is a must.

Orange Zone: Districts that are neither Red, nor Green Zones.

  • No inter-district or intra-district buses.
  • Taxis and cab aggregators allowed to operate with no more than 1 driver and 2 passengers. Inter-district movement of individuals and vehicles allowed but only for permitted activities. 4-wheelers can have no more than 1 driver and 2 passengers.

Green Zone: Districts with zero confirmed cases till date, or no confirmed cases in the last 21 days.

  • All activities are allowed except those forbidden in all zones.

List of activities prohibited in all zones across the nation

All other activities, that have not been specifically prohibited/permitted, will be allowed, but states/UTs may impose restrictions where they feel necessary.

For classification of zones, cases will be registered on the basis of where they originated rather than where they were treated. States and UTs may decide to classify more districts as Red and Orange Zone, but they cannot lower the classification of any district. They cannot “dilute these guidelines” in any manner. These guidelines will be enforced by the district magistrates.

Irrespective of zone, people above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children under 10 years of age, will remain at home except to purchase essentials and for health emergencies.

All residents in Containment Zones must download Aarogya Setu

States/UTs and district administrations will demarcate areas within Red and Orange Zones as Containment Zones as per MoHFW guidelines on the basis of: mapping of cases and contacts, geographical dispersion of cases and contacts, areas with well demarcated perimeter, and enforceability. A different Standard Operating Protocol, issued by MoHFW, will be enforced in the Containment Zone. Here, a strict perimeter control will be followed and people will be allowed to move in and out of the zone only for medical emergencies and essential goods and services. Details of people who move in and out of the containment zone will be recorded.

In Containment Zones, local authorities will carry out contact tracing, home/institutional quarantining of individuals (risk will be assessed by medical officers on the basis of symptoms, contact with confirmed patients, and travel history), house-to-house surveillance by special teams, testing of all cases with Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), Influenza Like Illness (ILI), clinical management of all cases, and counselling/education of people along with communication with them.

Out-patient departments (OPDs) and Medical Clinics will not be permitted to operate here.

States/UTs must allow movement of goods and cargo without fresh permissions

All states/UTs must allow inter-state movement of goods/cargo, including empty trucks. For all activities that were permitted under guidelines issued for the previous lockdown (until May 3), no separate or new permission is required from authorities.

Local authorities can impose curfew

All non-essential activities are prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am, and local authorities will issue orders under “appropriate provisions of law” such as “prohibitory orders [curfew] under Section 144 of CrPC”.