COVID-19 Update – Nationwide Lockdown in India

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In a very significant move, the Prime Minister of India, announced a 21 day nation-wide lockdown with effect from 00:00 hours on March 25, 2020, as a preventive measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Pursuant to the directions of the National Disaster Management Authority, under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Ministry of Home Affairs has on March 24, 2020, issued guidelines to Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territories and State/Union Territory Authorities to implement the lockdown to take effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID -19 in the country.

As per the guidelines issued, with effect from 00:00 hours on March 25, 2020:

1.        Commercial and private establishments shall be closed down, with the exception of:

(i)       Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder. However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes;
(ii)      Banks, insurance offices and ATMs;
(iii)     Prints and electronic media;
(iv)     Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services. IT and IT enabled services only (for essential services) and as far as possible to work from home;
(v)       Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through e-commerce;
(vi)     Petrol pumps, LPG, petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets;
(vii)    Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services;
(viii)  Capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India;
(ix)     Cold storage and warehousing services; and
(x)       Private security services.

All other establishments may work from home only.

2.        Industrial establishments to remain closed, with the exception of:

(i)       Manufacturing units of essential commodities; and
(ii)     Production units, which require continuous process, after obtaining required permission from the State Government.

3.        All transport services – air, rail, roadways with the exception of:

(i)      Transportation for essential goods only; and
(ii)     Fire, law and order and emergency services.

4.       Hospitality services to remain suspended, with the exception of:

(i)      Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons  stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew; and
(ii)     Establishments used/earmarked for quarantine facilities.

5.       All educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc. to be closed;

6.       Places of worship shall be closed for public. Religious congregations have been prohibited, without exception; and

7.       All social/political/sports/entertainment/academic/cultural/religious functions/gatherings to be barred.

Employers/organizations of the services which have been exempted have been directed to implement necessary measures and precautions to contain COVID -19, including  social distancing measures.

For any violation of the containment measures, action can be taken under Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 as well as Section 188 of the IPC as provided in the Appendix to the Guidelines.

Date: March 25, 2020