Coronavirus outbreak: MHA issues addendum to guidelines on services exempted during lockdown

The Home Ministry on Wednesday issued guidelines that cover those people who would be exempted from the 21-day lockdown called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reserve Bank of India and RBI-regulated financial markets pay and accounts officers and field officers of the CAG will be exempted from the lockdown.

On the other hand, forest staff which includes officers and workers involved in operating and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, fire fighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement are also exempted, the guidelines stated.

The services exempted from the 21-day lockdown also includes shops for seeds and pesticides data and call centre for government, manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceutical, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates, coal and mineral production, transportation, supply of explosives and activities required for mining operations.

Establishments that provide essential services like hospitals, ration shops, dairies, banks, insurance offices, and print and electronic media will also remain open.

The guidelines specified that religious gatherings will not be permitted, and all educational, training, research, coaching institutions will remain closed in view of the pandemic. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that 'social distancing' is the only way to stop the spread of coronavirus outbreak.

In his second address to the nation within a week, Modi said the decision will have an economic cost but saving people's lives is of paramount interest to his government.

This is necessary for a decisive battle against the coronavirus outbreak, the Prime Minister said.

(With agency inputs)