Underscoring that there was no alternative to saving human lives even though India might have paid a big economic price, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that the lockdown across the country would be extended till May 3 to ensure that the coronavirus pandemic does not spread to non-affected areas.
In a 25-minute address to the nation, PM Modi said the second phase of the lockdown would see more stricter measures and fresh guidelines would be issued on Wednesday on the way ahead in the battle against COVID-19, which has led to 10,363 cases and 339 deaths. Follow LIVE Updates
“Follow the rules of lockdown with full devotion till May 3, stay where you are, stay safe…If India would not have adopted a holistic approach, if an integrated approach was not initiated, India’s situation would have been different (compared to many developed countries). It is clear from the experiences of the past few days that the path we have chosen is right,” PM Modi said.
Here is all you need to about the second phase of the lockdown:
#1. Till when has the lockdown been extended?
With the first phase of the 21-day lockdown, that began on March 25, ending on Tuesday (April 14), PM Modi announced a further extension of the measure for 19 more days till midnight of May 3.
#2. Will there be any relaxation during the lockdown period?
While PM Modi mentioned that detailed guidelines regarding the second phase of the lockdown would be brought out on Wednesday, he said some relaxations might be allowed after April 20 in places where there are no hotspots.
Regarding relaxations during April 20 to May 3, PM Modi indicated that the priority would be towards easing the hardships for daily wage earners, the farm sector and essential services.
After April 20, there will be graded relaxations in areas based on the epidemiological assessment – incidence of the outbreak and the intensity, PM Modi said, adding that restrictions could be reimposed later if there were any fresh cases of COVID-19 found in these areas.
“Till April 20, every town, every police station, every district, every state will be tested on how much they are adhering to the lockdown; how much the areas have protected themselves from coronavirus. It will be observed. Some necessary activities may be allowed in areas that will pass this litmus test; areas which will not be among the hotspots and are less likely to turn into hotspots,” PM Modi said.
#3. Which essential services will be allowed during the lockdown?
The government will on Wednesday publish a detailed document with guidelines on how to go about the battle against the pandemic.
In the first phase of the lockdown “shops, including ration shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder” were allowed to operate.
The exceptions also included delivery of essential items through e-commerce; banks, insurance offices, ATMs, print and electronic media, telecommunication, internet services, broadcasting, and cable services. During the lockdown, petrol pumps, cold storage units, power generation, and transmission services and private security services will also be allowed to function.
#4. Will Railways function? If not, will I receive a refund for tickets booked between April 14-May 3?
The Railways on Tuesday extended suspension of all its passenger services till May 3 even though it said movement of goods and parcel trains would remain operational. Besides, all counters for booking tickets for reserved/unreserved travel at stations and outside railway station premises shall remain closed till May 3 midnight. “No advance reservations shall be made till further notice,” the Railways said.
Moreover, Railways said full refund would automatically be provided to its online customers for trains cancelled up to May 3, while those who have booked at the counters can take refund till July 31. “Customers will also get full refunds of their tickets if they are cancelling their advance bookings for trains not yet cancelled,” the Railways said.
— DGCA (@DGCAIndia) April 14, 2020
#5. Will flights also be suspended?
The Civil Aviation Ministry on Tuesday said all international and domestic commercial passenger flights would remain suspended till midnight of May 3. “All domestic and international scheduled airlines operations shall remain suspended till 11.59 pm of 3rd May 2020,” the ministry tweeted.
Domestic carrier IndiGo said a credit note would be created against a cancelled PNR to be used for a future booking for the same passenger. “If your flight is suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a credit shell has been automatically created by us against your PNR. If you cancel a booking for travel up to 30th April, 2020, you can create a credit shell from the ‘Edit Booking’ section on our website,” IndiGo said.
Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?
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