India announced on Saturday, May 30, a major relaxation of the world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown from early June, except for so-called “containment zones” with high numbers of infections.
Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines for phased re-opening of “all activities outside containment zones for the next one month beginning June 1”.
“The guidelines will come into effect from June 1, 2020 and will be effective till June 30, 2020. The current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus,” MHA said in a release.
The country is under the fourth phase of lockdown which will continue till May 31. The lockdown was first enforced in March to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The nationwide lockdown that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first announced on March 24 was slated to end on May 17. Modi had on March 24 announced the nationwide lockdown for 21 days. On May 14, the government extended the lockdown till May 3.
On May 1, the MHA further extended the lockdown period to two weeks beyond May 4, with some relaxations. The Central government had also announced Rs. 20 lakh crore stimulus package to combat COVID-19.
The home ministry order also said that places of religious worship, hotels, restaurants and shopping malls “will be allowed” to operate from June 8, while educational establishments will be opened “after consultations” with Indian state authorities.
The announcement came even after the world’s second-most populous country announced another record daily rise in infections, taking the total to more than 85,000 cases with almost 5,000 deaths.