Coronavirus Pandemic: Government declares 170 districts as COVID-19 hotspots; allows some economic activities after April 20
New Delhi: The Centre, on Wednesday, classified 170 districts across the country as coronavirus hotspots and 207 districts as non-hotspots. This amounts to a total of 377 districts out of a total of 732 districts in the country.
On the 22nd day of the nationwide lockdown, a joint secretary in Union health ministry, Lav Agarwal, in a news briefing, said states have been asked to classify districts which have reported a higher number of cases as hotspots or “red zones”, the districts where cases have been reported but classified as non-hotspots or “orange zones”, and where no cases have been reported or “green zones”.
Agarwal also said India’s containment efforts are showing results and 11.4% of positive cases reported so far have also recovered.
Meanwhile, the government has green-signalled limited resumption of economic activities in the country after April 20 outside the hotspots, especially in the industrial and rural areas. Businesses seeking permits for resumption of operations would have to follow strict norms laid down by the government.
The following can open only outside containment zones:
- All facilities supplying essential goods, food and grocery shops
- All goods traffic, including essential and non-essential
- Highway dhabas (eateries) and repair shops
- Industries outside city limits, factories in SEZs, export-oriented units, industrial estates
- Construction of roads, buildings, irrigation projects
- Courier services
- Services by self-employed workers, such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters, computer/mobile repairmen
- Farming, including harvesting, procurement, mandi activities, movement of agriculture machinery, etc
- Marine and inland fishing
- MNREGA work with priority to irrigation and water conservation
- Food processing outside municipal limits, production of packaging material, jute industry, brick kilns
The protocols business must follow are:
- Compulsory temperature screening
- Staggered lunch breaks
- One-hour gap between shifts
- Meeting of no more than 10 people at a time
- Maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between two people
- Maximum two people in a lift
- Health insurance for all workers
The following will remain closed for the time being:
- Religious places
- Educational institutions, although online classes are allowed
- All public travel, including air, railway, bus, Metro
- Malls, cinema halls, hotelsm, gyms, bars, restaurants, liquor and cigarette shops
In his address to the nation on Tuesday, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, had said the lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus has made India pay a “big economic price”.
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