People assemble outside a pharmacy in Kolkata to buy medicines following PM Modi's announcement of a lockdown (Express Photo by Arunima Bagchi / ieBangla)
The country, from midnight Tuesday, is in a complete lockdown for the next 21 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Amid concerns over supplies of essential commodities, the government has clarified that the list of exemptions during the lockdown remain unchanged since the 'Janata curfew' on March 22, meaning that groceries, pharmacies, and ATMs, among other essential services, will remain open and operational.
"There is absolutely no need to panic. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available (during the lockdown). Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this," PM Modi tweeted later. Key takeaways from PM’s address on COVID-19
While the instruction is to "stay at home, no matter what", the government has issued a list of exemptions. Here's what they are:
#Shops, including ration shops, dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder shall remain open. However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes.
#Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including manufacturing and distributing units, both in public and private sector, such as dispensaries, chemist and medical equipment shops, clinics, ambulance etc will continue to remain functional. The transportion for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services shall be permitted
#Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs shall remain operational.
#Print and electronic media will remain open.
#Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services will be operational to ensure smooth work from home as far as possible.
Rush outside a departmental store in Noida after PM Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the country. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)
#Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce
#Petrol pumps, LPG, petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets shall remain open
#To ensure continuous supply of electricity, power generation, transmission and distribution units and services will remain operational
Action against violators
However, to ensure the implementation of the lockdown, the government has announced action, including fines, against violators.
According to the guidelines by the Ministry of Home Affairs, any person violating these containment measures will be liable to be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, besides legal action under Sec 188 of the IPC.
A deserted look of Mumbai Airport T2 on Tuesday evening. (Express Photo by Pradip Das)
The District Magistrate will also deploy Executive Magistrates as Incident Commanders in their respective local jurisdictions. The incident commanders will be responsible to ensure the overall implementations of the guidelines in their respective jurisdictions, and ensure the mobilisation of resources, workers, and essential material.
Other key points
#All government offices — both state and Centre — shall remain closed during the lockdown period. Exemptions are: Defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation, post offices, etc.
A crowded Dadar Vegetable Market (Express Photo by Prashant Nadkar)
#For state government offices, municipal bodies shall function with limited staff, including those required for sanitation, personnel related to water supply etc.
#Barring manufacturing units of essential commodities, and production units which require continuous process, industrial establishments shall remain closed. Production units will have to obtain permission from the state government to continue their operations.
#All transport services — rail, road, and air, remain suspended to civilians. Exemptions only for transportation of essential goods, and fire, law and order services.
#All places of worship closed for public. All gatherings of any kind shall be barred. In case of funerals, congregation of not more than twenty persons will be permitted.
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