- `Unlock 3' guidelines have removed the night curfew
- Gyms and Yoga institutes will be allowed to open from August 5
- Schools, Colleges, Cinema halls to remain shut at least until August end
New Delhi: The number of COVID-19 cases in India continues to rise and crossed 15 lakh on Wednesday (July 29), of which 5 lakh (5,28,242)cases remain active. India’s mortality rate is 2.21 per cent, with the 34, 968 COVID related deaths out of the 15,83,792 confirmed cases. The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday (July 29) issued the `Unlock 3′ guidelines, where it eased some significant restrictions.
Unlock 3 will begin from August 3 in phases, where there will no longer be any restriction on the movement of individuals during the night (night curfew).
Whereas, gymnasiums and Yoga institutes will be allowed to open from August 5.
Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to open from August 5, 2020. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) for ensuring social distancing and to contain the spread of COVID-19, the guidelines said.
Also, as per the unlock 3, there will be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods and no “separate permission/ approval/ e-permit” will be required for such movements.
As per the ministry guidelines, the lockdown will continue to be strictly implemented in the containment zones at least till August 31.
This phase of the lockdown, however, does not allow schools, colleges, coaching institutions, among others to reopen. The guidelines read,
Metro rail, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, schools, colleges, coaching institutions, social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions and other large congregations will continue to remain prohibited.
Dates for the opening of these establishments will be decided separately based on the assessment of the situation, the guidelines further say.
States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
The ministry claimed that the new guidelines for unlock 3 are based on the feedback received from states and Union Territories and extensive consultations held with related central ministries and departments.
The guidelines also mention the upcoming Independence Day functions, saying it will be allowed by following health protocols like social distancing and wearing masks.
MHA said that national directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country with a view to ensure social distancing.
Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of national directives. Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes, the guidelines said.
The ministry also said that the use of the Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.
When it comes to the international air travel, the MHA says that it been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.
Further opening-up will take place in a calibrated manner, it added.
According to guidelines, activities in the containment zones shall be monitored strictly by state and UT authorities and the guidelines relating to containment measure in these zones will be strictly implemented.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will monitor the proper delineation of containment zones and implementation of the containment measures, the ministry said.
Government allowing the opening of Yoga studies and Gyms, is a welcome move by the industries, which has not been functioning for four months. Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA and Diva Yoga told NDTV,
After four months it’s great that yoga institutes are being allowed to open up. We are looking forward to reopening our Sarva & Diva studios and as a responsible company, we will ensure we abide by all the necessary safety measures and precautions mandated by the government.
However, Ashish Rawat, Founder, Oga Fit, an interactive digital workout platform told NDTV that due to the risks that still persist with the COVID-19, he thinks people will prefer doing online workouts instead. He said,
It’s amazing that fitness institutes are going to reopen after four months. Consumers, however, will still have to be very careful about exposing themselves at this point especially since we still don’t have a vaccine in place to fight the virus. I feel that a lot of fitness enthusiasts will continue to use online fitness platforms until the world at large manages to find a breakthrough in fighting the virus and probably even after on realising the convenience it brings.
NDTV reached out to Dr Suraj Dhawan, a Pulmonologist from Delhi, to know his opinion on the Unlock 3. Dr Dhawan said that even though he appreciates the phased unlocking, but is not sure about gyms opening up just yet. He said,
After reading the guidelines for unlock 3, I was not very surprised. We obviously are going ahead in a planned and phased manner with the restarting of the economy. I think when it comes to the opening on gyms and yoga studios, while I think yoga studios can be managed in terms of social distance and masks, people can bring their on mats, etc, it seems fine. However, on the other hand, I’m concerned about reopening gyms, due to sweat particles on the equipment and workout machines. I’m not sure how often the machines can be desensitised and how social distance may be implemented in gyms.
Dr Dhawan also raised some concerns over the upcoming independence day functions, which will continue to take place as per the Union Home Ministry guidelines. He said,
I don’t think the government has capped the limit of people for attending any independence day functions. This can again be concerning, there are no specific norms laid out for it, except for the standard – wearing masks and following social distancing. Government should prohibit large gathering or cap the number of attendees. Some state governments have decided not to go ahead with the independence day celebrations and I think that is the wise thing to do.
Dr Dhawan lastly agreed with the decision to not open schools, colleges, cinema halls, among others, stating ‘the time is not right.’
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.