Representative image (PTI)
NEW DELHI: After the end of Lockdown 4.0 on May 31, the Centre may leave it to the states and Union territories to decide on future restrictions, to be imposed in their respective jurisdictions, outside a countrywide ‘negative‘ list that may continue to bar international flights and reopening of schools and colleges.
Sources indicated that the lockdown measures may be reviewed every fortnight until all curbs are lifted, as per the developing situation. Centre’s role in the lockdown will be limited to putting out a progressively smaller list of activities not allowed nationally and laying down National Directives on Covid-19 Management like mandatory wearing of face masks and observing social distancing.
The last set of lockdown guidelines issued by MHA on May 17 had left everything including delineation of containment zones and deciding on extent of relaxations to the states/UTs. Everything barring a few select prohibited activities — resumption of domestic and international passenger flights; opening of educational institutions; dine-in at restaurants; public congregations including for religious purposes; and opening of shopping malls, cinema halls, clubs and gymnasiums — was allowed. Subsequently, within the Lockdown 4.0 period, domestic flights were resumed and metro services too could start soon.
While a considered opinion is being evolved on opening of shopping malls, there is a view that shops in markets and marketplaces should be given some time for their sales to revive before malls are opened. Also, a discussion is on whether eateries and restaurants can resume dine-in services, and if this call should be left to the state governments. “The assessment at the Centre is that the state governments can take a better call now based on the ground realities. How long can the Centre keep monitoring everything?,” said a functionary.
Sources indicated that international flights may not resume before July and that the wait could be longer for educational institutions like schools and colleges to open. “Schools and colleges may have to rely on online lessons for some time, possibly till July or even August,” said an officer.
With cases rising exponentially and possibility of hospital beds falling short, there is a possibility that home quarantine in most cases will be made the general norm, with only exceptional cases where home quarantine facility is not available or those involving serious co-morbidities and requiring ventilator support being advised hospitalisation.