Large swathes of the country are set to remain under lockdown as the government announced the second phase of the country's gradual emergence from restrictions. While lockdown will stay in containment zones, the other areas will have certain relaxations in terms of night curfew and people's presence in shops. But there will be no big-ticket changes yet like opening of schools and colleges, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, bars and assembly halls or metro services will not happen yet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the country today at 4 pm as the fifth phase of lockdown comes to an end.
The second phase of "Unlock" comes as India recorded more than 19,000 new coronavirus patients for a second consecutive day and the total cases are set to cross the 5.5 lakh-mark.
Till July 31, only essential activities will be allowed in containment zones, of which national capital Delhi has more than 470. Besides, a number of states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bengal and Assam, have announced that they will extend the lockdown in some districts beyond June 30.
The revised "Unlock" guidelines also said metro services, cinema halls, swimming pools, bars and assembly halls would remain closed, even outside containment zones. Social, political, sporting, entertainment, academic, religious and cultural gatherings and functions continue to remain banned. Dates for opening of these will be decided separately, based on an assessment of the situation.
International travel will also be limited to the Vande Bharat mission - bringing home Indians stranded abroad.
Night curfew shall continue to remain in force, between 10 pm and 5 am, except for essential activities and other relaxations. But states, based on their assessment of the situation, will have the final call on the activities outside the containment zones, the Centre said.
Shops, depending upon their area, can have more than five people at a time. However, they have to maintain adequate physical distancing.
Over this month, the government has slowly unrolled Unlock1, allowing travel by rail, road and air in a limited fashion. Religious places have also been allowed to open but with massive restrictions.
While announcing "Unlock1", the government had said the emergence from restrictions will have three stages. While In the first, religious places, hotels and restaurants, and shopping malls will be allowed from June 8, the second will involve schools, colleges and other educational institutions.
This, however, will be done only after discussions with all stakeholders, including parents, the government had said. The final decision will be taken in July.
International air travel, metro services, cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools, theatres, bars and other places of assembly may be allowed in the third phase, the government had indicated. Functions and assemblies that involve large gatherings could also be allowed in that phase, the government had said.