India will enter its fourth phase of lockdown on May 18 but with a different set of rules and guidelines as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on May 11. The new guidelines for lockdown 4.0 will be announced on Sunday.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on May 15, held several meetings with his ministry's officials to decide on a roadmap for the fourth-phase of the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
According to sources, the fourth phase of the lockdown is expected to last for two more weeks, until May 31. However, this time, there will be a lot of relaxations and flexibilities given with the complete reopening of green zones, very limited curbs in orange zones, and strict restrictions only in the containment areas of red zones.
It is anticipated that there will be a gradual reopening of the railways and domestic airlines. Besides, states and Union Territories (UT) will also have the power to define their own hotspots.
Further, restrictions on schools, colleges, malls, and cinema halls will continue even in this phase which is likely to be in effect until May 31, 2020. However, salons, barbershops, and optical shops may be allowed to operate in red zones.
It is also expected that local trains, buses, and metro services may reinstate in non-containment areas of red zones but with limited capacity. Additionally, autos and taxis are also expected to be allowed in red zones with restrictions on the number of passengers.
Several state governments favoured more relaxations in lockdown restrictions for scaling up economic activities in non-containment coronavirus zones. However, some governments were also in favour of extending the lockdown until the end of this month.
The Mizoram and Punjab governments have extended the lockdown until May 31. In Mumbai and Pune as well, the lockdown has been extended until May 31.
Punjab, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Assam, and Telangana want the lockdown to continue. Whereas Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala want more relaxations in the 4th phase of lockdown.
(With PTI inputs)