Coronavirus Lockdown Extension: PM Modi in his meeting with State Chief Ministers’ on Saturday gave the message of ‘Jaan Bhi, Jahan Bhi’ hinting at the possible easing of lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while welcoming most state’s recommendation on lockdown extension, also said that the current crisis calls for a middle path approach that maintains a balance between lifting of pan-India lockdown restrictions while also continuing the necessary restrictions important to save lives of people. Amid rising number of cases of COVID-19, the Central Government seems to be working on a ruthless cluster containment plan, which is likely see the country move from a complete lockdown to a ‘smart lockdown’ that brings back the country.
Need of Smart Lockdown – Red, Orange and Green Zones
One of the key reasons behind the middle-path approach of Central Government is its focus on dwindling economy. With the economic activity in the country at a standstill for last fortnight, the Central Government now has to shoulder the all-important responsibility of lifting the lockdown to restart the economy before it suffers from irreversible damage. This is where the idea of a smart lockdown comes into picture.
Smart lockdown will allow the government to extend the on-going lockdown which is pivotal to flatten the curve and save lives while also allowing it to grant relaxations in certain areas and cases to ensure the survival of the economy as well. This is where colour coding of Red, Orange and Green Zones come into picture.
Zone-wise Classification of Country
Under the Lockdown 2.0 or the Smart Lockdown, the country will be divided or classified into three key zones i.e. Red, Orange and Green. Derived from the colour of the traffic lights, these zones will support the cluster containment plan announced by the government, while opening up the rest of the places. According to a PTI report, the details about zone-wise distribution of the country that was discussed in PM and CMs meet is as follows:
Red Zone: Similar to how a red traffic light brings all activity on road to a halt, a district or cluster declared as a red zone, will see severe restrictions with zero or no activity allowed. Typical understanding is that any place with more than 15 COVID-19 positive cases can be declared as a red zone.
Orange Zone: Again continuing the traffic light analogy, the places that are placed under orange zone will have restrictions in place, while also seeing some form of easing of lockdown measures. Orange zone may see opening of limited public transport and also allow exemptions for essential services personnel and farming and harvest activity for the on-going season. PTI report indicated that places designated as Orange zone will have less than 15 cases of COVID-19.
Green Zone: Places which have so far not reported even a single COVID-19 positive case will be declared as Green Zone under Government’s new plan. This means nearly 400+ districts of India might qualify to be tagged as Green Zone. This zone will see maximum easing of lockdown restrictions to bring a sense of normalcy back to the country. Media reports claims that in the green zone, MSME industries might be allowed to function with in-house lodging facilities for employees with proper maintenance of social distance.