Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to all Chief Secretaries on Sunday evening (17 May) informing about lockdown 4.0 and the new exemptions while highlighting that the states may be at liberty to restrict the activities allowed in certain areas but they cannot "dilute" restrictions already imposed by the Centre.
"I would like to reiterate again that states/Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed vide the aforesaid guidelines issued by the MHA," warned Bhalla. However, he added that "based on their assessment", the states and Union Territories may prohibit activities in certain areas.
He also attached the letter written by Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan where she reminded the things that need to be kept in mind while determining zones.
"Under the new guidelines, states/Union Territories (UTs) will now categorise Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry," said the MHA on Sunday.
It added that the zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation or municipality or for that matter even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, which will be decided by States and UTs. This has been a long standing demand which was vociferously put forward by Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Mamata Banerjee among other CMs.
In the attached letter of Sudan, she cited a graph that says that total active cases of more than 200 in an area should be considered as "critical" as well as more than 15 active cases per lakh individuals. She even said that whenever fatality rate is more than 6 per cent or confirmation rate of positive cases are more than 6 per cent, states and union territories should consider the situation as "critical".
Bhalla, in his letter, also highlighted that while new exemptions like inter-state travel are given and more power are transferred in the hands of the states and UT administrations, there has been absolutely no change when it comes to dealing with containment zones.
On Sunday, the NDMA extended the current lockdown by another couple of weeks till 31 May.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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