Lockdown 4.0 extension, Lockdown 4.0 guidelines: The fourth phase of coronavirus-forced lockdown comes into effect from today with a new set of guidelines to allow some relaxations to the public. The revised guidelines were released by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday evening. Unlike the last three phases, the Centre has given more teeth to the states to decide on which activities are allowed and what will remain suspended in their respective states.
The government has asked states to take charge of the details while implementing its guidelines for the next two weeks. The fourth phase of lockdown will end on May 31.
The MHA guidelines clearly assign greater responsibility for the Covid-19 response to states, a departure from the previous stand taken by the Centre. During the second phase of lockdown, the Kerala government had issued separate guidelines, prompting a sharp response from the MHA. The Kerala government had to roll back its guidelines wherein it had allowed non-AC barber shops, bookshops, plying of buses among other activities.
Until May 17, it was the MHA that defined red, orange and green zones for each state and categorically specified what activities could be allowed. However, states were demanding that the Centre let states decide the categorisation and also the containment zones.
“The delineation of red, green and orange zones will be decided by the respective state and UT governments, after taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” the latest MHA guidelines said.
It said that within the red and orange zones, containment zones and buffer zones will be demarcated by the district authorities, after taking into consideration the MoHFW guidelines.
The earlier relaxations in the MHA guidelines did not give much space for economic activity, a point that was raised by the CMs during their meeting with the Prime Minister last Monday. Earlier, the Centre had specifically laid down the details of activities that were allowed.
But this time, the Centre has instead come out with a list of prohibited/restricted activities, time period and location while allowing the state governments to decide the minute details based on their own assessment of the ground situation.