Coronavirus lockdown | Lockdown 5.0 to be strictly implemented in 13 cities

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The government is all set to announce Lockdown 5.0 for two weeks, with strict implementation in 13 cities that have recorded 70% of the total COVID-19 cases. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will issue revised guidelines soon, a senior government official said.

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and is learnt to have given him the feedback he received from State Chief Ministers. Mr. Shah had called all the Chief Ministers on Thursday and sought their views on extending the lockdown. 

Metro trains unlikely

In the new set of relaxations planned, all kinds of religious places will be allowed to open, but malls and restaurants are expected to remain shut. 

The lockdown, imposed first in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 24, has been extended four times. The ongoing phase is in force till May 31.

The Centre is not in favour of running metro trains as most routes fall in the containment zones in cities. 

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba had held a meeting on Thursday with municipal commissioners and district magistrates of the 13 worst- affected COVID-19 cities: Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi/New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata/Howrah, Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur and Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu).

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State governments will be given more autonomy in implementing MHA’s guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. “States can improvise to make them more stringent, but they cannot dilute the provisions,” said the official.

Markets were allowed to open in the fourth phase. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions will remain shut. 

“The lockdown has been relaxed considerably in the fourth phase. People will have to internalise that social distancing and personal hygiene are a way of life now. Lockdown will not be imposed ruthlessly like before, but people will be told that is for their safety,” said a senior government official.

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Domestic flights at 33% capacity were started on May 25. “Now several domestic flights are being cancelled due to want of passengers. Most migrants have reached home and those stuck in other parts of the country have taken flights and special trains to get back. We understand that relaxation in lockdown guidelines will not have any adverse impact,” the official said. 

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