As the country nears the end of the third phase of the coronavirus lockdown, discussions on whether restrictions should be on and to what extent, are on. However, what is likely to emerge from these discussions and debate is another two weeks of lockdown till May 31 but with more relaxations.
According to a report in The Economic Times, India might allow public transportation and reopening of restaurants and shopping malls on certain conditions but maintain restrictions for the rest. Few shops inside shopping malls as well as eateries with social distancing might be allowed to operate. Officials told the daily that auto rickshaws and cab aggregators would be allowed to operate with up to two passengers. Domestic flights would reopen on routes where both the departure state and the arrival state agree. Metro services are likely to remain closed in red zones.
The new guidelines are expected to be released on Saturday after approval from the Prime Minister's Office. This would be the third extension and the fourth phase of the lockdown that started on March 25. It was then extended on April 15 and then on May 4.
States and Union Territories are likely to be given more authority to define containment zones and the activities that would be permitted in the non-containment zones.
According to the daily, states would be asked to utilise Rs 11,000 crore for the welfare and rehabilitation of migrant workers. The money was released by MHA as part of State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).
All economic activities are likely to reopen in green zones, while strict measures are likely to be followed in containment zones. Spitting in public would be banned and use of masks likely to become mandatory.