Lockdown Till May 31, More Economic Activity Likely To Be Allowed

Coronavirus Lockdown 4: Sources said the final call on allowing air travel in a limited fashion will be taken after consulting state officials.

Lockdown Till May 31, More Economic Activity Likely To Be Allowed
New Delhi:

The Central guidelines for lockdown 4.0 --  which will continue till May 31 -- is likely to be declared later this evening following a meeting between officials of the Centre and states to fine-tune some crucial points. With the guidelines pending, three states -- Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab -- have already extended lockdown till May 31.

The meeting between the Chief Secretary and the state police chiefs will be held this evening, sources said. The relaxations will mainly revolve around public transport. But sources said for now, air travel and metro services will not be allowed.

There will be other relaxations in terms of economic activity, which is likely to be permitted in all zones. So far, some economic activity with a lot of restrictions, have been allowed only in non-containment zones. Sources said the states will be given the freedom to take a decision on this matter.

The restart of economic activities with autonomy to decide the areas had been a key demand of the states during last week's meeting between Chief Ministers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Some states, though, had advocated an extension of lockdown. Besides Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, the list included Haryana, Bihar, Odisha and Assam.

Others, including Delhi and Gujarat, had demanded a speed restart of economic activities, pointing to the revenue crunch since the lockdown was declared on March 25.

Sources indicate that partial opening of malls and shopping centres might be allowed and metro services can re-open but with massive restrictions.

While announcing the lockdown extension last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said it would come in a "completely different form", with new rules.

"Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around it. We will wear masks, we will follow doh gaj doori (six-foot distance), but we won't let it derail our targets," he stressed. He had also asked states to submit their blueprints for the lockdown and its gradual removal.  

The phase 4 of lockdown comes as the country crossed the 90,000-mark in coronavirus cases, recording the biggest single-day jump of 4,987 new patients, bringing the total to 90,927. The figure includes 2,872 patients who died and more than 34,000 patients who recovered.