States/UTs can't dilute Lockdown 4.0 restrictions: MHA

New Delhi [India], May 18 (ANI): The Union Ministry of Hime Affairs (MHA) on Monday said that the States and Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions as mentioned in the guidelines for the fourth phase of lockdown and can only make them stricter based on local level assessment.

"MHA has reiterated to the States/UTs that despite widespread relaxations given in lockdown restrictions under revised guidelines, States/UTs cannot dilute the restrictions imposed in the MHA guidelines," said the Ministry in an official release.

The MHA on Sunday extended till May 31 the fourth phase of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus and issued revised guidelines.

"Under the new guidelines effective from today, States and UTs would now delineate the Red, Orange and Green zones, taking into consideration the revised guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on May 17, 2020," the release said.

"Inside the red/orange zones, containment and buffer zones would be identified by the local authorities, based on local level technical inputs and health ministry guidelines," it added.

It said that within the containment zones, the strict perimeter would be maintained as earlier and only essential activities would be allowed.

"Limited activities would continue to be prohibited throughout the country. All other activities would be permitted except the ones that are specifically prohibited under MHA guidelines. They may prohibit certain other activities or impose restrictions as deemed necessary on the basis of the ground-level analysis of the situation," the release said.

It said that the States and UTs must take into consideration the benchmark or thresholds indicated in the revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare while delineating zones at the local level.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has also written to Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories (UTs) asking them to ensure the compliance of new guidelines issued for the extended lockdown and also reiterated not to dilute the guidelines. (ANI)