New Delhi, October 27: The Centre on Tuesday said the current guidelines allowing various activities like opening of cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity will continue to be applicable till November 30 in areas outside the containment zones.
Earlier, the guidelines for reopening activities issued on September 30 were to be in force till October 31.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order today to extend this period till November 30, an MHA spokesperson said.
The guidelines said that international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, would remain shut while state and UT governments were given the flexibility to decide on reopening of schools and coaching institutions in a graded manner.
The decision is be taken in consultation with the respective school and institution management, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions, according to the guidelines.
The activities permitted in areas outside the containment zones were — cinemas, theatres and multiplexes with up to 50 percent of their seating capacity, Business to Business (B2B) exhibitions, swimming pools used for training of sportspersons, entertainment parks and similar places.
Various ministries and departments have issued standard operating procedures for the reopening of activities.
Political gatherings in poll-bound Bihar and those constituencies where by-elections will be held were allowed with attendance of a maximum of 200 people in a close space or hall and in an open space depending on its size.
The political gatherings can be held only outside the containment zones.
The lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones during the period.
The coronavirus induced country-wide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 25 and it was extended in phases till May 31.
The Unlock process in the country had begun on June 1 with the graded reopening of commercial, social, religious and other activities.
Since the issuance of the first order on lockdown measures by the home ministry on March 24, almost all activities have been gradually opened up in areas outside the containment zones, a home ministry statement said.
While most of the activities have been permitted, some activities involving large number of people have been allowed with some restrictions and subject to SOPs being followed regarding health and safety precautions.
These activities include metro rail, shopping malls, hotel, restaurants and hospitality services, religious places, yoga and training institutes, gymnasiums, cinemas, entertainment park etc.
In respect of certain activities, having relatively higher degree of risk of COVID infection, state and UT governments have been permitted to take decisions for their re-opening, based on the assessment of the situation and subject to SOPs.
These activities include schools and coaching institutes, state and private universities for research scholars and allowing gatherings above the limit of 100 etc.
The home ministry said 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 and there is a need to exercise abundant caution by adopting COVID-19 appropriate behaviour by every citizen in their daily routine.
A ‘Jan Andolan’ was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8 on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour to follow three mantras, namely: wear mask properly, wash hands frequently; and maintain safe distance of six feet, the statement said.
The home ministry said where schools are conducting online classes, and some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so.
Students may attend schools and institutions only with the written consent of parents.
Attendance must not be enforced, and must depend entirely on parental consent, the home ministry said.
The Department of Higher Education under the Ministry of Education may take a decision on the timing of the opening of colleges and higher education institutions, in consultation with the home ministry, based on the assessment of the situation.
Online and distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged.
However, higher education institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory and experimental works will be permitted to open under some conditions.
For centrally funded higher education institutions, the head of institution will satisfy herself or himself that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (Ph.D) and post-graduate students in science and technology stream for laboratory and experimental works, the ministry said.
All other higher education institutions e.g. state universities, private universities etc. may open only for research scholars (Ph.D) and postgraduate students in science and technology stream requiring laboratory and experimental works as per decision to be taken by the respective State and UT governments.
The home ministry again said that the states will not impose any local lockdown outside containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.
There will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement.
The number of coronavirus cases reported in India in a span of 24 hours dropped to below 40,000 after over three months, while the new fatalities registered during the same period remained under 500 for the second consecutive day, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
India’s COVID-19 tally mounted to 79,46,429, with 36,470 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,19,502 with 488 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
A total of 72,01,070 people have recuperated from COVID-19 so far, pushing the national recovery rate to 90.62% while the case fatality rate stands at 1.50%. (PTI)