Hours after the Home Ministry issued guidelines easing the coronavirus lockdown, the centre has written to chief secretaries of all the states to inform them of the changes. The centre has said malls, hotels, restaurants and places of worship can open on June 8 except in containment zones.
The centre said states and Union Territories cannot "dilute restrictions" mentioned in the guidelines, but can based on their assessment of the situation, stop or restrict certain activities in areas outside containment zones.
"I would urge you to ensure compliance of the new guidelines, and direct all concerned authorities for their strict implementation," Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in the letter.
The lockdown has been extended in containment zones till June 30. In a statement titled "Unlock 1" to indicate that the country - at least in trade and economic activities - is slowly coming out of the coronavirus crisis, the government said all services and activities except select ones like international flights and gyms outside containment zones will resume in phases.
"As mentioned in the guidelines, there will be a phased re-opening of activities in areas outside containment zones, with the stipulation of following standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)," Mr Bhalla said.
"I would specifically like to draw your attention to phase 2, regarding re-opening of schools, colleges etc., where states and UTs (Union Territories) have been asked to have consultations at the institution level, with parents and other stakeholders. You are advised to send the feedback on the consultations held, so that a timely decision can be taken for opening up of the education institutions," Mr Balla said in the letter.
The government has said schools, colleges, coaching centres and other educational institutions will be reopened after discussing the coronavirus situation with the states and Union Territories in July.
"The guidelines also mandate that there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons. Therefore, no separate approvals or e-passes etc are required in this regard. However, in case you wish to regulate such movement, you are required to give wide publicity in advance," the centre said in the letter.
India reported the biggest single-day jump in the number of new coronavirus patients and those who died due to the highly infectious illness with 7,964 fresh cases and 265 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 1,73,763 cases, according to data shared by the Health Ministry this morning.
The country has logged 4,971 deaths since the pandemic began. More than 80,000 patients have recovered so far. Of these, a record number of 11,264 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.