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MHA unveils rules for Unlock 2

Trucks waiting outside Champua town in Keonjhar district of Odisha to proceed to the Joda-Barbill mines.Biswaranjan Rout

Trucks waiting outside Champua town in Keonjhar district of Odisha to proceed to the Joda-Barbill mines.Biswaranjan Rout  

Night curfew timings eased, more trains likely; PM to address nation today

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) late on Monday announced fresh guidelines for Unlock 2. The restrictions will, however, be strictly enforced in containment zones till July 31.

Metro rail services, schools, colleges, gymnasiums, auditoriums, bars, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, assembly halls and similar places will continue to remain shut across the country. All large congregations, including religious, social, political, sports and academic, continue to remain prohibited. Also late on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Curbs since March

The lockdown, first imposed in March, has been relaxed considerably over the past two months even though the total number of COVID-19 cases has surged past 5.6 lakh and more than 16,000 deaths have been reported.

Hours before the guidelines were issued by the MHA, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu extended the lockdown till July 31 without any more relaxations, joining West Bengal and Manipur.

The dates for reopening prohibited activities will be decided separately, the guidelines issued by the MHA under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 said.

In a significant relaxation, the MHA said: “Shops depending upon their area, can have more than five persons at a time.” However, the customers have to maintain adequate physical distance. Domestic flights and passenger trains are already allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.

Night curfew timings have been relaxed and now shall be in force from 10.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m.

“Further, relaxations in night curfew have been given for seamless operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and movement of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and airplanes,” the MHA said.

Training to resume

Training institutions of the Central and State Governments will be allowed to function from July 15 and the standard operating procedure (SOP) in this regard will be issued by the Department of Personnel and Training. “After extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31,” said the MHA. International air travel has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission and “further opening up will take place in a calibrated manner,” the government said.

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