MAY 1. 2020
The nationwide lockdown in India has been extended till May 17. The Ministry of Home Affairs extended the lockdown for two weeks while allowing different sets of relaxations in red, orange and green zones. The new guidelines aim at allowing India to exit from lockdown in a staggered manner while reopening the economy.
The decision for the lockdown extension came as the nationwide tally rose to 35,365. The country registered a record jump of 1,755 in novel coronavirus cases on Friday, while the toll from the deadly virus reached 1,152.
As the new cases linked to the Tablighi Jamaat cluster started dropping, a new religious cluster has emerged. A number of pilgrims returning home from a Sikh gurudwara in Maharashtra have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Centre of Friday allowed stranded people across India to be transported back home using special trains and ships. The Modi government has also started mulling on devising a post-lockdown strategy to revive the Indian economy. PM Modi on Friday met Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss an exit strategy.
To pay homage to the corona warriors, the armed forces said that they will be conducting fly-pasts, showering petals on hospitals treating Covid-19 patients and illuminating naval vessels on May 3.
Record surge in national tally
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 1,152 with 77 fatalities reported since Thursday evening, while the number of cases saw a record jump of 1,755 to go up to 35,365 cases on Friday, according to the Union health ministry.
The number of active Covid-19 cases stood at 25,148 while 9,064 people have recovered, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said.
“Thus, around 25.63 per cent patients have recovered so far,” a health ministry official said.
The total number of cases include 111 foreign nationals.
However, a tally of numbers reported by different states and union territories till 9.15 PM showed close to 37,200 confirmed cases and at least 1,222 deaths.
A total of 77 deaths were reported since Thursday evening of which 27 fatalities were reported from Maharashtra, 17 from Gujarat, 11 from West Bengal, seven each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, three from Delhi, two from Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and one from Karnataka.
Of the 1,152 deaths, Maharashtra tops the tally with 459 fatalities, followed by Gujarat at 214, Madhya Pradesh at 137, Delhi at 59, Rajasthan at 58, Uttar Pradesh at 41 and West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh at 33 each.
The death toll reached 27 in Tamil Nadu, 26 in Telangana, while Karantaka has reported 22 deaths.
Punjab has registered 19 fatalities so far. The disease has claimed eight lives in Jammu and Kashmir, four in Kerala while Jharkhand and Haryana have recorded three Covid-19 deaths each.
Bihar has reported two deaths, while Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Assam have reported one fatality each, according to ministry data.
According to the ministry’s data updated in the evening, the highest number of confirmed cases in the country are from Maharashtra at 10,498 followed by Gujarat at 4,395, Delhi at 3,515, Madhya Pradesh at 2,719,
Rajasthan at 2,584, Tamil Nadu at 2,323 and Uttar Pradesh at 2,281.
The number of Covid-19 cases has gone up to 1,463 in Andhra Pradesh and 1,039 in Telangana.
The number of cases has risen to 795 in West Bengal, 614 in Jammu and Kashmir, 576 in Karnataka, 497 in Kerala, 426 in Bihar and 357 in Punjab.
Haryana has reported 313 coronavirus infection cases, while Odisha has 143 cases. A total 111 people have been infected with the virus in Jharkhand and 57 in Uttarakhand.
Chandigarh has reported 56 cases, Assam has 42 while Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have registered 40 infections each so far.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands has 33 Covid-19 cases while Ladakh has reported 22 infections so far.
Meghalaya has reported 12 cases, Puducherry has eight cases while Goa has seven Covid-19 cases.
Manipur and Tripura have two cases each, while Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have reported a case each.
AAP’s Karol Bagh MLA Vishesh Ravi tests positive for coronavirus
While the numbers continue to surge, Delhi’s Karol Bagh and AAP MLA Vishesh Ravi tested positive for novel coronavirus. Ravi said his brother has also tested positive for the disease. “I am currently in home quarantine. I am asymptomatic but I have tested positive for coronavirus,” he told PTI.
Ravi, a three-time AAP MLA, has been actively involved in relief work in his constituency.
Nanded Gurudwara – second religious cluster?
While India is still counting the cases linked to Tablighi Jamaat cluster, a new religious cluster has emerged in Maharashtra. At least 199 people, who have returned from a Sikh gurudwara in Maharashtra’s Nanded have tested positive for novel coronavirus.
According to authorities in Punjab, 197 pilgrims out of the 3,500 brought back from the Maharashtra gurdwara, among the holiest sites in Sikhism, have contracted the infection. Two of the 18 pilgrims who returned to neighbouring Haryana have also tested positive.
About 4,000 pilgrims from Punjab had remained stranded for about a month at Hazur Sahib gurdwara in Nanded due to the nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Baba Balwinder Singh of Langar Sahib said there are still about 175 people from different states in the complex.
In a video clip, Akal Takht jathedar Harpreet Singh on Friday claimed there was a conspiracy to “malign” the Sikhs just as the Muslims were after the Tablighi Jamaat episode.
The reference by the Amritsar-based jathedar was to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March. Hundreds of people who participated and then returned to their homes across the country had tested positive.
“It is being propagated as if Takht Sri Hazur Sahib was the home to coronavirus and these people carried it with them to Punjab,” he alleged. “It is a very big conspiracy,” the jathedar said.
Lockdown 3.0: What’s allowed, what’s not
Lockdown 3.0 is here. But the third leg of the nationwide lockdown is not as harsh as its predecessors. The MHA announced the extension of the lockdown with different sets of relaxations for different zones.
What are red, orange, green zones?
According to the health ministry, there are 130 red zones in the country with a maximum of 19 in Uttar Pradesh, followed by 14 in Maharashtra in the country. The number of orange zone is 284 and ‘Green’ is 319. All the districts of the national capital have been put under the red zone.
A district will be considered as a green zone if there are no confirmed cases so far or there is no reported case for the past 21 days. A district comes under the red zone if it has a high and recent number of coronavirus cases, the rest of the districts come under the orange zone.
While almost all restrictions have been lifted in green zones, people in the orange zone will also enjoy a far easier routine. The life in red zone districts will also not remain still as many restrictions have been lifted from areas which are out the hotspots or containment zones, allowing businesses to bounce back. But there is a limited number of activities that will remain prohibited throughout the country, irrespective of zones.
According to the MHA’s fresh guidelines,
- The travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by the road will remain closed.
- Schools, colleges and other educational and training/coaching institutions will remain shut
- Hospitality services, including hotels and restaurants to remain closed
- Places of large public gatherings, such as cinema halls, malls, gymnasiums, sports complexes etc cannot resume operations
- Any kind of social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings are also prohibited till May 17
- Religious places/places of worship are to remain closed for the public as well
- However, the Centre has said that the movement of persons by air, rail and road will be allowed for select purposes, and for purposes as permitted by MHA.
What’s open, what’s closed in red zones
Outside the containment zone falling within Red zones, certain activities are prohibited in addition to those prohibited throughout the country which includes plying of cycle rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, running of taxis and cab aggregators; intra-district and inter-district plying of buses; and, barber shops, spas and salons.
However, some activities have been allowed in the Red Zones with restrictions that includes movement of individuals and vehicles is allowed only for permitted activities, with a maximum of two persons (besides the driver) in four-wheeler vehicles, and with no pillion rider in the case of two-wheelers.
Industrial establishments in urban areas including Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control have been permitted.
Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction (where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside) and construction of renewable energy projects.
Shops in urban areas, for non-essential goods, are not allowed in malls, markets and market complexes. However, all standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential. This includes liquor and tobacco shops.
Anything in a market in red zone will be shut. Has to be a stand-alone shop.
E-Commerce activities in the Red Zones are permitted only in respect of essential goods. and private offices can operate with up to 33 per cent strength as per requirement, with the remaining persons working from home.
All government offices shall function with senior officers of the level of Deputy Secretary and above at full strength, and the remaining staff attending up to 33 per cent as per requirement.
Most of the commercial and private establishments have been allowed in the Red Zones which includes print and electronic media, IT and IT-enabled services, data and call centres, cold storage and warehousing services, private security and facility management services, and services provided by self-employed persons except for barbers.
What’s open, what’s closed in orange zone
In addition to activities permitted in the red zone, the residents of the orange zone will also be able to use taxi and cab aggregator services. However, such services are allowed only one drive and one passenger.
Four-wheeler vehicles will have maximum of two passengers besides the driver and pillion riding will be allowed on two-wheelers.
In orange zones, apart from stand-alone shops, markets are also allowed to open, but not malls.
E-commerce companies are allowed delivery non-essential goods unline red zone where only essential goods are allowed to be ordered online.
What’s open, what’s closed in green zone
In the green zones, all activities are permitted except for the limited number of activities that are prohibited throughout the country. However, buses can operate with up to 50 per cent seating capacity and bus depots can operate with up to 50 per cent capacity.
How to find out which zone your district falls in?
If you are worried if your district is a red, orange or green zone, then don’t. You can check the full list here to find out which set of restrictions of relaxations will be applicable to your district.
Other key announcements
The local authority shall ensure 100 per cent coverage of Aarogya Setu app among the residents of Containment Zones.
Wearing of face cover is compulsory in all public and work places and adequate stock of such face covers shall be made available.
No separate or fresh permissions are required from authorities for activities already permitted to operate under the guidelines on Lockdown measures up to May 3.
Marriages related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum number of guests allowed shall not be more than 50.
Last rites related gatherings shall ensure social distancing, and the maximum numbers allowed shall not be more than 20.
Spitting in public places shall be punishable with fine, as may be prescribed by the State and UT local authority.
Those who refuse to comply with any direction with regards to the lockdown guidelines can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.
If such obstruction or refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years.
Whoever knowingly makes a claim which he knows or has reason to believe to be false for obtaining any relief, assistance, repair, reconstruction or other benefits can be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, and also with fine, the order said.
Railways roll out ‘Shramik Special’ trains to ferry lockdown-hit stranded migrants, students
The Railways on Friday rolled out non-stop “Shramik Special” trains to ferry migrant workers, students and others from various states where they were stranded since the nationwide lockdown began on March 25.
In a pre-dawn operation that coincided with the International Labour Day, the first train with 1,200 migrant workers departed from Hyderabad in Telangana to Hatia in Jharkhand at 4:50 am. The other five train services are from Aluva(Kerala) to Bhubaneswar(Odisha), Nashik(Maharashtra) to Lucknow(UP), Nashik to Bhopal(MP), Jaipur(Rajasthan) to Patna(Bihar) and Kota(Rajasthan) to Hatia, which is in the outskirts of Ranchi city.
Meanwhile, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration has decided to arrange special ships between Port Blair and Chennai to ferry stranded migrant workers, students, pilgrims and tourists, officials said on Friday.
“The transportation of such personnel shall be on one time, one way basis only,” the deputy director of Shipping Services said in a statement.
“Primarily only asymptomatic people who clear the screening process will be allowed to board the ship,” the statement said.
Further, all persons arriving in Port Blair will be mandatorily quarantined for 14 days and they will be required to give an undertaking regarding this before boarding, it said.
Officials said those who want to travel will have to register themselves by 5 pm on May 2.
“Based on the data of stranded personnel, sailing will be scheduled in the near future and announced accordingly,” it said.
People who want to travel from Port Blair to Chennai can register themselves by sending an SMS to 9932080480 and 9150572319 with details such as name, age, sex, present location, final destination and mobile number.
Delhi-Gurgaon border sealed
The Delhi-Gurugram border was sealed by Haryana Police on Friday due to Covid-19 with people and vehicles coming from the national capital being asked to go back.
While the Haryana government has said that people associated with essential services will be allowed to enter Gurugram, several of them claimed that despite having passes, the police did not allow them to cross the border.
A Haryana Police officer at the border said that entry of vehicles and others without proper passes has been stopped from 10 am on Friday till further orders.
Haryana’s home and health minister Anil Vij had a few days ago said that borders of the state with Delhi have been “sealed” and stricter restrictions will be imposed on those coming in from the national capital while only those associated with essential services will be allowed to enter.
Fighter jets to do fly-pasts, choppers to shower petals on May 3 to thank ‘corona warriors’
The Indian armed forces will express their gratitude to all “corona warriors” by conducting fly-pasts, showering petals on hospitals treating Covid-19 patients and illuminating naval vessels, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said on Friday.
Addressing a special press briefing along with the three service chiefs, Gen Rawat said the nation stood together and showed resilience in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are expressing our gratitude to all ‘corona warriors’ who are working hard to keep us safe,” he said.
The Indian Air Force will carry out fly-pasts across the country on May 3 to display gratitude to coronavirus warriors, the CDS said, flanked by Army chief General M M Naravane, Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria.
Gen Rawat said the Indian Air Force will conduct fly-pasts from Srinagar to Thiruvananthapuram, from Dibrugarh to Kutch as thanksgiving to the coronavirus warriors.
Fixed wing and fighter aircraft of the IAF will participate in the fly-pasts on May 3 evening, he said.
Also, Navy helicopters will shower flower petals on hospitals treating Covid-19 patients, the CDS said.
The Army will conduct mountain band displays along some Covid-19 hospitals in almost every district, while naval ships will conduct special drill and illuminate vessels to convey gratitude to corona warriors, Gen Rawat said.
Armed forces are solidly behind those fighting the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
Gen Rawat also asserted that no operational task has been affected or will be affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said it is not proper to conclude that the novel coronavirus outbreak is a result of biological warfare.