Coronavirus in India Photograph:( Reuters )
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that the purpose of restricting movement of individuals during the night was primarily intended at preventing congregation of people.
Movement of people will remain prohibited across the country from 9 pm to 5 am during the ongoing 'Unlock 1', but there are no restrictions on plying of buses with passengers and goods trucks on highways, the Centre said on Friday.
In a communication to all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also said that the purpose of restricting the movement of individuals during the night was primarily intended at preventing congregation of people and ensuring social distancing, but not hampering supply chains and logistics.
He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued guidelines prohibiting the movement of people between 9 pm and 5 am throughout the country, except for essential activities. Bhalla said that the MHA has noticed that some states and union territories (UTs) are restricting the movement of people and vehicles on highways between 9 pm and 5 am, which is hindering their smooth passage.
"I would like to clarify that the purpose of restricting the movement of individuals, except for essential activities, between 9 pm and 5 am, is primarily intended to prevent congregation of persons and to ensure social distancing," he said.
"The restriction does not apply to instances of loading/unloading of goods (as part of supply chains and logistics); buses carrying persons and trucks and goods carriers plying on state and national highways; or persons travelling to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and flights," Bhalla said.
The Union home secretary said, accordingly, states and UTs are advised not to prevent such movement. He said that necessary instructions to this effect should be issued to district and local authorities. The nationwide lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The lockdown was first extended till May 3 and then again till May 17. It was further extended till May 31. The lockdown is now restricted only to containment zones across the country and will continue till June 30.
A large number of social, economic, religious and sports activities are currently allowed to function, under what the MHA has termed as 'Unlock 1'.