NEW DELHI: India’s government has extended the nationwide coronavirus lockdown by two more weeks starting next week.
The Home Ministry on Friday issued an order to extend the lockdown starting Monday, May 4.
The ministry also issued guidelines to regulate activities in this period based on the risk profile of the country’s districts into red (hotspot), green, and orange zones.
The classification of districts as red zones will take into account the total number of active cases, the extent of testing, and surveillance feedback from the districts. The green zones will be districts with either zero confirmed cases to date or for the last 21 days. Districts which are neither red nor green will be classified as orange zones, according to a ministry statement.
Mortality rates drop sharply in parts of India, bucking coronavirus trend
The order permitted considerable relaxations to the orange and green zones, said the ministry.
In red zones or hotspots, all industrial and construction activities, food processing units, and brick kilns are permitted, and all shops, except in shopping malls, are allowed. Agricultural activities are also permitted.
Travel by air, rail, metro, and inter-state movement by road will remain banned except if permitted by the ministry.
Schools, colleges, and other educational and training institutes will also stay shut, as will hospitality services including hotels and restaurants, movie theaters, malls, shopping centers, gyms, and sports complexes, according to ministry guidelines.
The order also said that the movement of individuals in all zones, for all non-essential activities, shall remain strictly prohibited from 7 pm to 7 am.
India's coronavirus relief plan could leave millions without food aid'
The government has also decided not to allow the resumption of social, political, cultural, and religious gatherings for now.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week met with chief ministers of various states, most of whom suggested extending the lockdown.
Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 35,365 on Friday as the death toll touched 1,152 in the country, according to the Health Ministry.