India's countrywide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus will continue till May 31.
The Indian Home Ministry announced the extentsion on Sunday and has put the ball in the court of states, reports the NDTV.
It will allow the states not only to colour code the zones according to the incidence of coronavirus, thereby taking a final decision on what activities take place in any particular area.
On the broader issues, the central government has allowed buses and other vehicles to run. But the key bars - on air travel and metro rail, malls, gyms, cinemas and big gatherings -have been retained.
Workplaces can function but with restrictions. With reference to companies and private offices, the Indian Home Ministry statement said work-from-home policy should be followed wherever possible.
Shops and markets will be allowed to open during the fourth phase of India's nationwide coronavirus lockdown. Local authorities must ensure shops open on staggered timing basis, so as to ensure social distancing.
All shop owners must also ensure that customers maintain minimum six feet distance from each other and that not more than five people are allowed inside at any given time.
Shopping malls will remain closed, the government said.
Staggering of work hours should be adopted by all offices and other establishments, with provision for thermal scanning and sanitisers at all entry and exit points, as well as common areas.
Here are key points of the fourth phase of India's nationwide lockdown:
- The government has retained curfew at night - from 7 pm to 7 am, movement of people will be allowed during the daytime. The government, however, said people above the age of 60 and children below 10 should not go out of doors.
- For the states, the big change was that they would be allowed to demarcate the red, green and orange zones, which define the concentration of the cases and how much economic activity could take place in the area. This was the key demand of states during last week's meeting between chief ministers and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Within the Red and Orange Zones, Containment Zones and Buffer Zones will be demarcated by the district authorities, after taking into consideration the guidelines of the health ministry, the government said.
- Buses and other public transport will be allowed to run -both intra and inter-state, but subject to the approval of the states, the centre said.
- Economic activities will not be allowed within the containment zones, which have a high incidence of coronavirus cases.
- The government has also not allowed areas which draw a large number of people - shopping malls and multiplexes, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places. Local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing, the government said.
- Sports complexes and stadia can open, however, spectators will not be allowed, the home ministry guidelines read.
- The government also retained the ban on social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions, other gatherings and large congregations.
- All places of worship shall also be closed for public and religious congregations are strictly prohibited, the government said.
The fresh phase India's lockdown comes as the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 90,927, recording the biggest single-day jump of 4,987 new patients. The figure includes 2,872 patients who died and more than 34,000 patients who recovered.