Updated: October 31, 2020 12:23:22 pm
With October marking the start of the festive season, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in its Unlock 5 guidelines, has allowed more relaxations to Covid-19 lockdown rules while giving states more flexibility on deciding the resumption of several activities. However, with the MHA order preventing states from imposing local lockdowns, several governments have announced separate guidelines in accordance with the local pandemic situation.
Delhi has deferred the decision on implementing the Unlock 5 relaxations while Kerala, which has been witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, has banned the assembly of more than five persons till the end of this month.
On the other hand, states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have allowed resumption of suburban train services and inter-district train travel respectively to jumpstart the struggling economy and ease the commute of its workforce dependent on such “lifelines”.
Here is how states have issued Unlock 5 rules as per Covid-19 situation:
The national capital, which saw its Covid-19 cases rise by at least a lakh in September, won’t be implementing relaxations offered under unlock 5.0 guidelines. It means schools, cinema halls and social, academic, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other gatherings and large congregations will continue to be prohibited across the city till October 31.
The status quo comes with Delhi witnessing over 3,500 cases in the last few weeks and a high death rate. On Tuesday, Delhi reported 48 deaths — the highest single-day fatalities since July 16. However, the trial run of allowing bars and weekly markets has been extended till October 31. Two weekly markets are allowed per day per zone in all three municipal corporation areas.
With a significant reduction in the number of cases being reported by Maharashtra compared to two weeks ago, inter-district train travel has been allowed to resume in October even though normal operations of Mumbai’s suburban train system, which is also the lifeline of the city, remains prohibited. Only essential service providers and dabbawalas have been permitted to travel in local trains. However, minister Aditya Thackeray, who is also the guardian minister for Mumbai, has hinted that local train services might resume by mid-October amid complaints by office-goers and businessmen, staying in far away locations, of hardships in reaching Mumbai and commercial business districts.
Compared to two weeks ago, when it had been reporting over 22,000 cases daily, daily infections have come down to a level of 15,000 to 18,000 now. This has led to the government allowing restaurants, bars and food courts to resume services from October 5. This comes after the restaurant industry, which has suffered extensive losses during the pandemic, petitioned the chief minister to allow them to reopen.
Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres and multiplexes, auditoriums, metro and schools will continue to remain closed.
Praised for its initial handling of the Covid-19 crisis, Kerala now has third-most active number of cases in the country, prompting the government to enforce strict restrictions and banning the assembly of more than five persons. Thus, no social and political events can be held in October. It also means that Unlock 5 guidelines allowing gatherings of up to 100 persons outside containment zones is also nullified.
The restrictions come with Kerala reporting more than 9,000 cases Friday, galloping into the list of top ten states with maximum caseloads over the past week. On Thursday, Kerala’s Covid tally had crossed the two lakh mark.
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In line with the Home Ministry order, Uttar Pradesh has allowed schools, coaching and educational institutes to open in a phased manner and cinema halls and multiplexes to resume operations with 50 per cent capacity. While the state has the fifth highest caseload, it has not witnessed a rapid surge like Kerala. The guidelines are significant in view of the upcoming Durga Puja and bye-elections to seven Assembly seats in the state.
Public libraries have also been given the green light while swimming pools can open from October 15 but only for training purposes. The guidelines also allow public gatherings of more than 100 people but with certain conditions.
With the state witnessing a decline in Covid-19 cases and fatalities, the Amarinder Singh government has ended the Sunday lockdown and lifted night curfew, as part of Unlock 5.0. Increasing guest limit for marriage functions and funerals to 100, easing the limit of three persons in a car and 50 per cent capacity in buses are some of the major relaxations announced.
The easing of restrictions comes with the positivity rate dipping from 10.85 per cent on September 14 to 5.12 per cent on September 28. The state’s Covid death rate has also come down to 2.9 per cent while the recovery rate has gone up to 82.1 per cent.
With caseload less than 50,000 and active cases below 10,000, Uttarakhand has opened its doors for tourists, doing away with the requirement of mandatory quarantine and permit for inter-district movement of people. Cinema halls, theatres have also been permitted to open with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity while the current ceiling of 100 people gathering for social and political functions has been removed from October 15.
In view of the rising cases in Tamil Nadu, with almost 6 lakh infections, the government has decided against opening schools, colleges, amusement parks, entertainment centres in October even though Chennai suburban train services will resume from October 5. The services will be restricted only to essential services personnel. Besides, restaurants and tea shops are allowed run from 6am till 9pm while parcel and takeaway services can be availed till 10 pm.
At a time when West Bengal is reporting more than 3,000 cases daily and became the seventh state to breach the 5,000 mark in terms of deaths, the government has decided not to reopen schools or educational institutions anytime soon. CM Mamata Banerjee has said a decision would be taken on reopening schools only after mid-November. However, with Durga Puja, the state’s biggest festival, coming up, the government has permitted cinema halls and open-air theatres to open from October 1. “Jatras, plays, OATs, cinemas and all musical, dance, recital and magic show have been allowed with maximum 50 participants,” Banerjee had tweeted.
Karnataka has held back its decision on reopening schools and has hiked the penalty for not wearing a mask in public places to Rs 1,000 from Rs 200 in urban areas in view of rising active cases, with the state consistently reporting more than 8,000 cases daily in the past weeks, with the tally crossing even 10,000 in some days. The government has also barred gatherings of more than 50 people in public events.
Markets, malls and other public places cannot have more than five people in a group. A distance of six feet must be maintained between the people in the group. If found otherwise, a fine will be imposed on the owner of the organisation or shop. “Buses (public transport) can operate with 50% capacity. Conductors will be instructed to allow only those with masks into the buses,” said Karnataka Medical Education Minister Dr K. Sudhakar.
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