As part of the unlock strategy, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 27 announced a fresh set of guidelines that will allow all activities outside the containment zones.
These guidelines would come into effect from February 1.
It has been nine months since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. Since then, it has been gradually opening up the economy in phases, granting more freedom and access to carry out activities.
"The main focus of the guidelines is to consolidate the substantial gains that have been achieved against the spread of COVID-19 which is visible in the steady decline in the number of active and new cases in the country over the last four months," the MHA said in its latest update on unlock guidelines.
Here's a look at what will be allowed and what's not as per the new guidelines:
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
-Swimming pools will be allowed to be used by all. A revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MoYA&S) in consultation with the MHA for the same.
-All types of exhibition halls will be permitted to open. A revised SOP for this will be made by the Department of Commerce in consultation with the MHA.
-Cinemas halls and theatres will be allowed to operate with a higher capacity.
What's not allowed
-International travel. However, the Ministry of Civil Aviation may make a decision on it at a later date depending on an assessment of the ongoing situation.
The revised guidelines come in the backdrop of falling infection rate in all parts of the country. The daily COVID-19 count is in its lowest range in the last seven months, while the recovery rate has accelerated to 96.91 percent.