The coronavirus cases in India have crossed the 150k mark. Nearly 4,706 have lost the battle to COVID-19. And India now has the world’s ninth-worst coronavirus disease case count as the number of those infected in the country rose to 166k and its death toll crossed China’s official count, according to recent data.
Even the government has been announcing one edition of lockdown after another, the case count seems to be increasing with every lockdown. The fourth edition of the nationwide lockdown was announced on May 17 and a few restrictions were lifted. A surge in the number of cases was reported immediately after lifting of the restrictions. The lockdown, which was supposed to be lifted on May 3, may further extend. Reportedly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to chief ministers on Thursday to take stock of the pandemic situation and discussed the extension of the lockdown beyond May 31. According to media reports, lockdown 5.0 may limit restrictions only in containment zones. Reportedly, the Ministry of Home Affairs for the extended lockdown will allow the states to opt for strict measures to contain the virus.
Lockdown 4.0 saw all shops opening even those selling non-essentials goods. Lockdown 5.0 shops may see markets opening, which means more shops will open. Reportedly, the government is planning to give more time to shopkeepers to revive their sales before the malls are finally opened.
While some cities may allow the opening of gyms and salons with social distancing norms in place, others won’t allow these place to open yet. According to media reports, in Jammu and Kashmir, a government official said, that except malls, multiplexes, restaurants, schools, colleges and gymnasiums, everything else will be allowed. “Quarantine rules, by and large, shall also remain the same, that is, 100 per cent testing of returnees followed by 14-day administrative quarantine or paid quarantine. Following test reports, people are being dealt with accordingly. Positive cases are being hospitalized and negative cases are being sent to home quarantine for 14 days,” he said.
The government allowed domestic flights to operate on May 25. However, the airlines were restricted to fly to a limited number of airports. On seeing the increasing demand for tickets to non-metro cities, lockdown 5.0 will let airlines fly to any airport in the country. International travel, however, is not likely to resume before August.
From June 1, the Railways are also looking to begin operating 100 pairs of mail/express trains, bookings for which have already begun.
The HRD Ministry is yet to release guidelines about the reopening of schools. Reportedly, if schools reopen at all, older students from classes 9-12 will be allowed to attend classes first. However, strict measures will be taken to observe social distancing norms and proper sanitisation process.
Featured image: ABCnews.go.com/ Indian Express