Tamil Nadu, which has the second-highest number of coronavirus in the country, will remain on lockdown till May 31, the state government said on Sunday. It is the third state to extend the lockdown after Punjab and Maharashtra, which at over 30,000, has the highest number of cases.
Under the fourth phase of the lockdown, the Tamil Nadu government said there would not be any further relaxations in 12 districts, including Chennai, Kanchipuram, and Chengalpattu, where cases have been surging over the last few days.
However, 25 districts that are classified as orange zones, including Coimbatore, Salem and Erode, will see certain relaxations from Monday. These are districts with no new cases in the last 14 days.
Among other things, travel for essential services will be allowed without e-passes. Public transport buses, operated by private companies and government institutions, will be allowed with a maximum of 20 people on board. Similar numbers have been prescribed for other vehicles too.
Those factories that operate in non-red zones can have 50 per cent workforce instead of the current 33 per cent.
But schools, colleges, places of worship, cinema theatres, salons, and bars in the southern state, which has reported over 10,000 COVID-19 cases so far, will remain shut during this period.
Last week the Tamil Nadu government announced major relaxations in lockdown guidelines that came into effect on Monday, May 11.
Relaxations included extension of working hours of standalone and neighbourhood shops and allowing private establishments to function with a reduced number of employees on premises.
So far, vegetable and fruit shops, supermarkets are open across the state from 6 am to 7 pm, standalone and neighbourhood shops are open from 10:30 am to 6 pm while restaurants across the state are open from 6 am to 9 pm. All these will continue in lockdown 4.0 in red zones as well except for containment areas.