Unlock 5 Guidelines: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued another set of guidelines for the next phase of relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown and allowed more activities, including reopening of cinemas and theatres. Schools and colleges may also reopen in Unlock 5, but it has been left on the state governments to decide.
Unlock 5 guidelines will come into force from October 1 and will continue till October 31. All public activity were prohibited by the government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown in March as coronavirus cases rose in the country. While India now has over 62 lakh coronavirus cases and 97,000 deaths, it is going through Unlock 5 to facilitate more activities.
Unlock 5 guidelines in 10 points
1. Starting October 15, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes outside containment zones can reopen with up to 50% seating capacity, for which the guidelines will be issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The cinemas were completely shut since March and their owners have been demanding reopening as the losses have compounded for over 7 months.
2. MHA guidelines for Unlock 5 have said the state and UT governments can decide to do reopen schools after October 15, but in a graded manner. The decision on reopening schools will be taken in consultation with schools and management of the institutions, based on their assessment of the situation, and subject to certain conditions.
3. However, even though schools can reopen, online or distance learning shall continue to be the preferred mode of teaching and shall be encouraged. Where schools are conducting online classes, if some students prefer to attend online classes rather than physically attend school, they may be permitted to do so. Students may attend schools and institutions only with the written consent of their parents. The MHA Unlock 5 guidelines have also said attendance will not be enforced and must depend entirely on parental consent.
4. In case of higher education institutions dedicated to research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students in the science and technology stream who require laboratory and experimental works will be permitted to open from October 15.
For centrally funded higher education institutions, the head of the institution will have to satisfy themselves that there is a genuine requirement of research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students in the science and technology stream for laboratory and experimental works.
5. All other higher education institutions, including state universities, private universities, etc., may open only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and postgraduate students in the science and technology stream who require laboratory and experimental works. But the decision will be taken by the respective State and UT governments.
6. Business to Business (B2B) Exhibitions will be permitted and the guidelines for this will be issued by the Department of Commerce.
7. Swimming pools that are used for training of sportspersons will be allowed to reopen for which guidelines will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
8. Entertainment parks and similar places will also be permitted to reopen from October 15. The guidelines will be issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in this regard.
9. Unlock 5.0 guidelines have also allowed states the flexibility to relax the limit of 100 persons at public gatherings and functions that are outside containment zones. States can allow an increased number of people to attend a public gathering from October 15. The decision comes before the onset of Dussehra, Diwali and Durga Puja festivities across India.
10. Restrictions on international travel, except those permitted by the Centre, will continue.