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And now, Lockdown 5.0

Even as the country enters the fifth phase of lockdown on Monday, a little more than 8,300 fresh positive cases were

Lockdown 5.0

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 Jun 2020 5:12 AM GMT

Even as the country enters the fifth phase of lockdown on Monday, a little more than 8,300 fresh positive cases were reported in the preceding 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 1,82,143 cases till Sunday evening. With 193 cases of deaths reported on Sunday, the death toll on the other hand has increased to 5,164. An overview of the global scenario on the other hand shows that about 6 million people have been infected with Covid-19 till Sunday, of which more than 3.66 lakh people have already lost their lives since the virus first became active in the Wuhan province of China in December 2019. Among all countries, the United States has remained the worst-affected, with the death toll crossing the one lakh mark last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs, in its guidelines for the fifth phase of the nationwide lockdown effective from June 1 has allowed reopening in three phases. In Phase 1 of the reopening of restricted activities, religious places, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, and shopping malls will be allowed to open, starting June 8. Phase 2 on the other hand relates to reopening of schools, colleges, and educational, training, coaching institutions, which however will be opened only after consultations with the States and Union Territories. According to the MHA guidelines, State/UT governments may hold consultations at the institution level with parents and other stakeholders, and a decision of re-opening of these institutions will be taken in July. Dates for the re-starting of various kinds of prohibited activities on the other hand will be decided in the third phase in August. Thus, international air travel, operation of metro railways, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums and assembly halls etc will remain closed for now. As a consequence, all events and large congregations, including social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural or religious functions continue to remain prohibited till the third phase. What however is significant – and was also obviously required – is that the lockdown restrictions will continue in all containment zones till the end of June, and that only essential services will be allowed in the time being. With the rapid increase in the number of positive cases, States and Union Territories have been also given the liberty to identify buffer zones outside the designated containment zones where there is likelihood of occurrence of new cases. While the governments, and especially the district-level officials will have to exercise full powers and responsibilities vested upon them in order to control the situation, it is however also the bounden duty of the citizenry to behave in the most responsible manner in ensuring that every individual member of the community is protected and safe. It is a reiteration, but then it is a fact that in the absence of a drug to prevent and/or cure Covid-19, the three-point strategy is the only option – properly wearing a mask, washing hands thoroughly at regular intervals, and strictly maintaining social distancing. And for all those who have been put in quarantine, it is very important that they follow the basic rules laid down for remaining in quarantine. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his most popular 'Mann ki Baat' broadcast on Sunday, whether it is the mandatory two-yard distancing, wearing face masks or staying at home to the best extent possible, there should be no laxity on our part in complete adherence. It is with utmost precautions that domestic flights have resumed, while industry too is returning to normalcy, thus opening up a major segment of the economy. In such a scenario, every individual needs to be even more alert and careful.

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