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Lockdown extended until 31 May but shops and salons to open, inter-state movement can resume




Representational image for the lockdown in national capital Delhi | Photo: Bloomberg
Representational image for the lockdown in national capital Delhi | Photo: Bloomberg

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New Delhi: The nationwide lockdown has been extended until 31 May, but this time a few more relaxations have been granted.

According to the new set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs Sunday, the government has allowed all activities except those “specifically prohibited”.

This would mean shops — including those selling non-essential items such as electronics, garments and others — will open, except in malls and containment areas. Services of beauty parlours and salons too can resume.

All restaurants and bars will remain closed for dining in, but can start home delivery of food.

Sports complexes have been allowed to reopen, but without any spectators. This means events like the Indian Premier League can be staged but with no people in attendance.

Public transport and goods

Intra-state movement of passenger vehicles and buses has also been allowed, at the discretion of the state governments.

The government has allowed inter-state movement of people in private vehicles and buses, but “with mutual consent of states involved”. This means each of the states and union territories will have to announce their consent to allowing such movement.

“For buses going to, say UP or Rajasthan, Delhi will have to announce that movement to these states via buses and private vehicles is now allowed. This will depend on these destination states agreeing to the same. Same norms will apply go for buses coming from these states to Delhi. Hence, resumption of vehicular movement across state borders shall depend on mutual consent of states,” a home ministry official explained to ThePrint.

The Centre has also asked all states and union territories to not stop any type of goods or cargo and even empty trucks, even for cross-land border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries.

They have also been asked to allow inter- and intra-state movement of medical professionals, nurses, paramedical staff, sanitation personnel and ambulances without restriction.

Also read: What govt wants in lockdown 4 — Aarogya Setu app in every family, cop in surveillance teams

What will remain shut?

All domestic and international air travel, except for domestic medical services, air ambulances and for security purposes, will remain prohibited.

Metro services too will remain suspended.

Schools, colleges and tuition centres will remain shut, and “online classes are encouraged at all educational institutions”, the MHA order stated.

Hotels and hospitality services, except those meant for housing government, police and health workers and stranded people, will remain shut.

All cinema halls, gyms, assembly halls and any kind of religious gathering too remain prohibited.

The night curfew that was imposed in the third phase of the lockdown (4-17 May) shall continue. “Movement of individuals shall remain prohibited between 7 pm to 7 am,” the order stated.

Red/orange/green zones

According to the order, the delineation of red, green, orange zones will now be decided by the governments of the states and union territories, after taking into consideration parameters shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Within red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the district authorities in accordance with health ministry guidelines.

In the containment zones, only essential services will be allowed, with strict perimeter control.

“Intensive contact tracing, house-to-house surveillance and medical help will be ensured in these containment areas,” an MHA official said.

Also, people above 65 years of age, those with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 have been advised to stay indoors.

Use of Aarogya Setu app

The MHA order stated that employees at all workplaces should be encouraged to download and use the Aarogya Setu app.

“The Aarogya Setu app enables early identification of potential risk of infection and acts as a shield for individuals and the community,” it said.

“To ensure safety in offices and workplaces, employers on a best effort basis should ensure that the app is downloaded by all employees.”

The government has also asked district authorities to advise individuals to install the app and constantly update their health status on it.

‘Incident commanders’ to ensure enforcement

The government has asked all states to strictly enforce guidelines and not dilute them.

To ensure this, district magistrates have been asked to deploy executive magistrates as ‘incident commanders’ in their respective local jurisdictions.

“The Incident Commander will be responsible for overall implementation of these measures,” the MHA order said.

“Any person violating will be liable to be booked under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code,” it added.

Work from home encouraged, masks compulsory

The MHA order also stated that the practice of work from home should be encouraged and followed.

“Practice of work from home should be followed. Staggering of shifts should be maintained. Provision of thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitisers to be made at all entry/exit points of all workplaces. Regular sanitatisation also needs to be done,” the officer quoted above said.

Also, wearing a face mask at all public places and workplaces is mandatory, and spitting in public places will encourage a fine.

“Social distancing is to be strictly maintained at all workplaces. Marriage gatherings should not be more than 50 people. Not more than 20 people should gather at any funeral,” the officer added.

Also read: Can India risk a controlled epidemic after lockdown ends? It will depend on these factors

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown

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