New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday communicated to all states and Union Territories to ensure compliance of the new lockdown measures and direct the concerned authorities for their strict implementation to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the written communication from Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla to the Chief Secretaries of all the states and the UT administrations, it was clarified that "these guidelines are communicated to all the field agencies and wide publicity is given for the benefit of the public and that stricter measures should be imposed as per the requirement of the local areas".
Citing his earlier orders issued on March 31 and April 14, Bhalla said that the states and the UTs "cannot dilute restrictions imposed" by the Ministry of Home Affairs earlier.
"States and UTs, however, can impose stricter measures than these guidelines as per the requirement of the local areas."
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement to extend the 21-day lockdown to 19 more days till May 3, Bhalla said that "activities mentioned in the consolidated guideline (Paras 5 to 20) will not be permitted in containment zones within hotspots, demarcated by the states, UTs and district administration, as per the guideline by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)".
Noting the opening of select necessary activities from April 20, the official focused on the revised guidelines linked to the lockdown which was imposed to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed 377 deaths and over 9,500 confirmed cases in India.
He said that if any new area is included in the category of the containment zone, the activities allowed in that area till the time of its categorization as a containment zone will be suspended, except for those activities which are specifically permitted under the consolidated revised guidelines.
"The activities allowed under the consolidated revised guidelines will be withdrawn immediately if any of the lockdown measures are violated, risking the spread of the COVID-19," Bhalla's letter mentioned.
"All entities, in the government and private sectors, and members of the public should follow the guidelines strictly."