New Delhi: The central government on Wednesday said there will be “considerable relaxations” in the lockdown in “many districts” from May 4.
No details were spelt out but thousands of migrant workers, students, tourists, pilgrims and others stranded in different parts of the country will be allowed to go home.
How exactly has not been disclosed. The Union Home Ministry said guidelines for the relaxation will be issued in the next few days.
The ministry said migrant workers, students and stranded others will be screened for coronavirus first and only asymptomatic persons among them will be allowed to travel. On arrival they will be screened again and made to stay under home quarantine.
With trains not running, all such persons will have to travel by road, in sanitised transport provided by state governments with sufficient gaps in seating arrangements.
The Home Ministry order comes after migrant workers across India continued to defy lockdown restrictions and tried to walk home or hitch a ride. The MHA has asked state governments to coordinate among themselves and depute nodal officers to monitor the movement of people.
States have been told to allow smooth transit of vehicles carrying these persons, all of whom will be registered. On arrival in their home districts, they will be assessed by the local health authorities and kept in home isolation, unless they have to be sent to institutional quarantine.
All of these people would have to download the Aarogya Setu app on their phones so they can tracked.
There were 33,061 Covid-19 cases in India as of Wednesday evening, and 1,079 deaths. In the past 24 hours, 1,701 fresh cases and 71 deaths were reported. The most affected states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Health minister Harsh Vardhan said Wednesday the government would ramp up its testing capacity from 60,000 tests per day to one lakh in the next few days. He added that in the past three days, the “doubling rate” of the virus in India had risen to 11.3 days. Though the global mortality rate is around 7 per cent, in India it was 3 per cent, of which 86 per cent was of those with co-morbidities.