Tag Archives: Lockdown

Lockdown is not on table at this stage in Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

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The health minister, Greg Hunt, has been in touch with his opposite down here and they’ve been talking overnight. And so will, our chief medical officer is working with theirs. But there’s a lot still going on. So I don’t want to pre-empt any of that and it’s for the Victorian government to make those final calls. – Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on possibility of another lockdown due to COVID 19

Photo © Lalit Shastri

Close on the heels of Morrison saying its for the Victorian Goverment to take the call, the authorities ordered a 5-day snap lockdown in Melbourne on Friday.

On the traumatising impact of the lockdown to contain COVID-19 last year, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, in an interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, on Friday morning, 12 February, said: “It’s very real” in Victoria, and the rest of the country, also having gone through what Victorians went through, through the second half of 2021. 

Focussing attention on “proportionate, targeted responses”, the Prime Minister said, they are the most effective way to deal with COVID. It worked in Brisbane. “The short, sharp, sort of proportionate response that we saw in a couple of other states dealing with similar challenges proved to be quite effective particularly up there in Brisbane”. It also worked in New South Wales.

A precautionary, targeted, proportionate response is sensible. Explaining the strategy, Morrison said, one has got to give the contact tracers. For example if there’s an incident where someone was out of place and you want to get on top of that….It was a similar thing up in Brisbane and they did. And then they could move on again. 

There are rings of how you contain COVID. there’ve been quarantine breaches in states. There’ve been breaches and hotel quarantine is never 100 per cent failsafe, and to suggest it ever will be, is just not realistic. The issue is how you deal with it when it occurs and the contact tracing that then puts in place and the testing system and the response of Melburnians particularly, that once again, is tremendous. And that’s how you get back on top of it. We’ve had 220,000 people go through hotel quarantine around the country – 220,000.

On Vaccine

The vaccine removes, not entirely – no vaccine can remove entirely, just like the flu vaccine can’t do that, but it means that the virus changes in the risk it presents. And so then you’re not so much talking about cases as you are talking about the risk of serious disease in the community.

Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia is one of the best regulatory bodies in the world when it comes to vaccines. Because of the nature of COVID-19, the global pandemic, there is a much greater awareness and a lot more conversations happening around dinner tables about this. And there’s a lot more thirst for information about it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to meet as we roll out the vaccine around the country.

On Economy

We could cop an extra $44.5 billion on the interest bill. We’re heading for a $200 billion dollar deficit and there’s talk of structural change. Now, what does that mean? There will have to be expenditure review and cuts somewhere.

Photo © Lalit Shastri

At the moment the government is providing a very critical role in the economy and we’re going to continue to do that. The Treasurer made that pretty clear after last year’s Budget about our role going forward. On the issue of interest, the Reserve Bank governor has been pretty clear. Globally, let alone in Australia, interest rates are going to remain very low for quite a period of time. 

Police raids Bhopal Restaurant during lockdown, ties party revellers with rope, takes them in procession to Police Station

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Bhopal: A police team from Bairagarh police station raided a restaurant in the State capital on Sunday night and rounded up about 70 party revellers along with the restaurant managers, tied them up with a rope and marched them in procession to the police station.

The party, in complete violation of COVID-19 lockdown guidelines, was going on at the “Akkad Bakkad Cafe and Lounge” on Bairagarh road- Bairagarh is a Bhopal suburb.

It has been reported that many influential and well known citizens, including local youth leaders of ruling BJP were attending the party.

COVID-19: lockdown in Containment Zones extended till 30 June

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New Delhi: Under powers granted by section (2) of the Disaster Management Act 2005 , the National Disaster Management Authority has directed the Union Home Secretary to issue an order to extend the lockdown in Containment Zones till 30 June 2020 and to reopen prohibited activities in a phased manner in areas outside containment zones. 

In exercise of powers conferred under section (2) of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the Home Secretary on Saturday issued the necessary order and guidelines that will remain in force till 30 June 2020.

The last order for containment of COVID-19 in the country, for a period upto 31.05.2020 was issued on 13 May.

Click here for MHA guidelines

COVID-19: Lockdown to continue up to May 31

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States to decide various Zones and activities to be allowed in these Zones; Certain activities to remain prohibited throughout the Country

Night Curfew to continue

New Delhi: Keeping in view the fact that lockdown measures, in place since March 24, 2020, have helped considerably in containing the spread of COVID-19, it has been decided to further extend the lockdown till May 31, 2020. 

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an order, on Sunday 17 May 2020 under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, in this regard. The main features of the new guidelines are as follows:

States to decide various Zones

Under the new guidelines, States and Union Territories (UTs) will  now delineate Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry. The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc, as decided by States and UTs.

Within the red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the local authorities, after taking into consideration the Health Ministry guidelines. 

Within the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. Strict perimeter control shall be maintained, and no movement of persons would be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services.  Buffer zones are areas adjoining each containment zone, where new cases are more likely to appear.  In the buffer zones, more caution needs to be exercised.

Activities Prohibited throughout the Country

A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.  These include

  • all domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA;
  • metro rail services;
  • running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions;
  • hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports;
  • places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums entertainment parks, etc.;
  • social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations; and, access to religious places/places of worship for public.  

However, online/ distance learning shall be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.

Opening up of Sports Activities

Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities.  However, spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

Activities permitted with restrictions

In order to facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up.  Movement of individuals by trains has been permitted earlier by MHA through an order dated 11.05.2020.   Further, evacuation of foreign nationals from India, return of stranded Indian nationals from abroad, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, and intra-State and inter-State movement of stranded persons by bus and train, will continue to be allowed.

Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/ UTs.  Intra-State movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management

The guidelines specify the National Directives for COVID-19 management, which shall apply to public places and work places. 

Under these guidelines, wearing of face covers is compulsory; spitting will be punishable with fine as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the State/ UT local authority; and social distancing is to be followed by all persons in public places and in transport.  Marriage related gathering shall not have more than 50 guests.  For funerals/ last rites, the maximum number of persons allowed has been kept at 20.  Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed in public places. 

The National Directives also stipulate additional requirements for work places.  The practice of work from home (WfH) should be followed to the extent possible; and staggering of work hours should be adopted in respect of all offices and other establishments.  There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all work places and other sensitive locations are to be sanitized regularly.  In work places, social distancing would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch break of staff and so on. 

Stipulations regarding Shops and Markets

Local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, so as to ensure social distancing.   All shops shall also have to ensure six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.

Night Curfew

Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, between 7 pm and 7 am.

Protection for Vulnerable Persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

All activities to be Permitted other than the limited number of those that are prohibited or restricted

All other activities will be permitted except those which are specifically prohibited under these guidelines. However, in containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed, as mentioned earlier.

States to decide on activities within various Zones

States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.

Use of Aarogya Setu

The Aarogya Setu mobile application is a powerful tool built by Government of India to facilitate quick identification of persons infected by COVID-19, or at risk of being infected, thus acting as a shield for individuals and the community.  With a view to ensure safety in offices and work places, employers on best effort basis should ensure that the application is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones. 

District authorities have been asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app.  This will facilitate timely provision of medical attention to those individuals who are at risk. State/ UT Governments shall continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.