The Centre on Wednesday gave clear signals that the ongoing nationwide lockdown will be protracted beyond May 3 but with "considerable relaxations" to people and services in "many districts".
In a series of tweets, the Union Home Ministry said it has held an inclusive review meeting on the lockdown situation in the country and has found that there have been tremendous gains and improvement in the COVID-19 situation due to the lockdown till now.
A spokesperson from Ministry of Home affairs tweeted, "New guidelines to fight Covid-19 will come into effect from May 4, which shall give considerable relaxations to many districts. Details regarding this shall be communicated in the days to come."
The Ministry of Home Affairs, however, said there was a need to maintain a strict lockdown till May 3 so that the gains are not squandered away. Several chief ministers, who joined a meeting convened by the prime minister on Monday, have pursued the extension of the lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.
The number of COVID-19 hotspot districts in India on Wednesday has come down to 129 from 170 a fortnight ago, but in the same period the number of infection-free districts or green zones too decreased from 325 to 307. According to the Health Ministry data, the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed to 31,787 and the number of fatalities rose to 1,008 on Wednesday, registering a record jump of 71 deaths in 24 hours.
The government has already allowed industrial activities in rural areas with conditions. Similarly, apart from the shops for the essential commodities, standalone business establishments of non-essential goods were also allowed to open during the lockdown. Movement of essential and non-essential cargos are also allowed through trucks and trains. The home ministry allowed movement of migrant workers, students, tourists and other people with certain conditions. However, markets, malls, restaurants, parlour, liquor shops continue to remain shut after the lockdown.