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Adopting a cautious approach, the Union government in its ‘Unlock Phase 2’ has decided to keep schools, colleges, educational institutions, cinemas, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places, and even metro services shut until July 31. Similarly, social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions and other large congregations will continue to be disallowed. Dates for opening of these will be decided separately, based on the assessment of the situation, said the MHA.

Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones till July 31. These zones are required to be carefully demarcated by the state, UT governments with a view to contain the spread of COVID-19, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, it said, adding that within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.

Domestic and international flights and passenger trains, already operational in a limited manner, will be further expanded in a calibrated manner, it said.

Citing the rising numbers of coronavirus cases, the MHA said these activities will be allowed later. “The date for opening up these services will be decided separately and necessary SOPs shall be issued,” said the guidelines.

An attempt has been made, however, to make it easier for economic units like industries and shops. Night curfew timings have also been relaxed and will now be imposed only from 10 pm to 5 am. This is expected to allow the shift system in manufacturing units.

Restrictions on customers in shops have also been relaxed. Now more than five people can be present in a shop as long as they follow social distancing norms. However, state governments will still have the freedom to impose further restrictions as they deem fit in the interest of public health, the statement said.

Vulnerable people like those above 65 years of age, people with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay indoors, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

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