New Delhi, Oct 27: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday extended the guidelines for reopening to further ease Covid-19 restrictions issued for October till November 30, saying the essence behind the decision is to "move ahead" but warned that it did not mean the end of the pandemic.
The MHA said there is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and referred to the 'Jan Andolan' launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi October 8 to follow three 'mantras' -- wear your mask properly, wash your hands frequently and maintain a safe distance of six feet.
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"The essence behind graded re-opening and progressive resumption of activities is to move ahead. However, it does not mean the end of the pandemic. There is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting Covid-19 appropriate behaviour by every citizen in their daily routine," an official statement said.
It said there was an urgent need to instil a sense of discipline and ownership amongst citizens in order that the resumption of activities is successful and gains made in the management of the pandemic are not diluted.
The MHA has already advised Chief Secretaries and Administrators of states and Union Territories that they should endeavour to promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour extensively at the grass-root level and take measures to enforce the wearing of masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.
The 'reopening' guidelines issued on September 30 had allowed states the flexibility to decide on reopening schools after October 15 while cinema theatres, entertainment parks and business to business (B2B) exhibitions were also allowed to function from the same date.
The “reopening” guidelines had virtually opened up the whole country and also further relaxed restrictions on religious, political, social and other gatherings by entirely lifting the cap of 100 people after October 15. However, in closed spaces, a maximum of 50% hall capacity will be allowed with a ceiling of 200 persons.
International air travel other than those permitted by the government will also continue to remain suspended. Lockdown in containment zones will continue till October 31.
The guidelines are no more called “unlock guidelines”, which were issued for months since June, but “re-opening” guidelines, with the government indicating that most of the restrictions have been lifted except in containment zones.
It had also allowed the opening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside containment zones from October 15 but with 50% capacity. Entertainment parks and similar places, as well as swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, will be allowed to open from October 15. Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions will also return from mid-October, in a boost to the sector.
The guidelines also reiterated its warning to states against imposing local lockdown and if a state wants to impose local lockdown outside containment zones – state-wide, district, sub-district or city level -- it will have to consult the Centre.