COVID-19 updates: Several states ease curbs, India logs 58,419 new cases; new vaccination phase from tomorrow

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In the National Capital, the DDMA said that bars will be allowed to reopen with 50 percent seating capacity, from 12 pm to 10 pm, from next week

Haryana, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu on Sunday announced extension of restrictions imposed to check the spread of the novel coronavirus infection but also eased the curbs.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in an order said public parks, gardens and golf clubs will be reopened and bars will be allowed with some restrictions from Monday.

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The Jammu and Kashmir State Executive Committee (SEC) announced lifting of weekend curfew from eight districts with further easing of restrictions while Uttar Pradesh relaxed night curfew from two hours from Monday and allowed the resumption of some activities.

These announcements came on a day when India recorded less than 60,000  new coronavirus infections after 81 days, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,98,81,965. A total of 58,419 fresh infections were reported in a day. The COVID-19 toll rose to 3,86,713 with 1,576 fresh fatalities, the lowest in 63 days, according to the Union health ministry’s data.

Active cases declined by 30,776 to 7,29,243 and comprise 2.44 percent of the total infections. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 2,87,66,009 and the recovery rate improved to 96.27 percent, the ministry’s data showed.

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The daily positivity has been less than five percent for 13 consecutive days and was recorded at 3.22 percent. The weekly positivity rate declined to 3.43 percent, the ministry added.

Free vaccines for all adults from tomorrow

From Monday, a new phase of the vaccination policy will kick in under which the government will provide free shots to all adults, barring  those who choose to go to private hospitals. In a change from the earlier liberalised and accelerated COVID-19 vaccination policy, the Centre will procure and supply 75 percent vaccine doses to states while the system of private hospitals getting 25 percent of the vaccine doses made in the country will continue.

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However, the service charge at the private hospitals has been capped at Rs 150 per dose above the basic cost. Also from Monday, pre-registration on Co-WIN will not be mandatory and all government and private vaccination centres will provide onsite registration facility.

Bars in Delhi to open with 50% capacity

In the National Capital, the DDMA order stated that bars will be allowed to reopen with 50 percent seating capacity, from 12 pm to 10 pm, from next week and the owners of restaurants and bars will be responsible for strict adherence to COVID safety measures and all official guidelines and norms. “In case, any violation is found, strict penal/criminal action will be taken against the owner of the restaurant or bar,” the DDMA warned.

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Public parks, gardens and golf clubs will be reopened and outdoor yoga activities will also be allowed, the DDMA stated in its order.

Prohibited activities and services, including schools, colleges and educational institutions, cinemas, gyms, spas, all kinds of political, social, cultural, religious gatherings among others will remain closed till further orders or 5 am on 28 June.

The order cautioned that a very close watch and supervision will be maintained on the overall functioning of markets, market complexes, malls, restaurants and bars by the district magistrates, DCPs and other authorities concerned. “If in case it is found that the COVID-appropriate behaviour is not being followed or the positivity rate or the number of COVID-19 positive persons start increasing in Delhi, then markets, market complexes, malls, restaurants and bars will be closed forthwith without any loss of time,” it warned.

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Other allowed activities like marriages at court or at home with a maximum attendance of 20 persons, funerals with a gathering of up to 20 persons, functioning of government and private offices with 50 percent staff, operation of Delhi Metro trains and public transport buses with 50 percent capacity for seating, will continue, added the DDMA order.

UP relaxes night curfew by two hours

From 21 June, night curfew in Uttar Pardesh will be from 9 pm to 7 am (instead of  from 7 pm to 7 am), and shops, malls and restaurants will be allowed to remain open till 9 pm on weekdays.

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Saturday and Sunday will be weekly holidays, said the order issued by Chief Secretary RK Tiwari. Various activities, including the opening of markets outside the containment zones, full attendance in government offices, opening of eateries with 50 percent capacity and malls will be allowed.

During marriages and other functions, a maximum of 50 people will be allowed at both open and closed venues and only 50 people will be allowed in a religious place at a time, the guidelines stated.

Haryana extends lockdown, eases curbs

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The Haryana government extended the COVID-19 lockdown in the state by another week till 28 June, but allowed corporate offices to operate with full attendance, with strict adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour and regular sanitisation

According to an order issued by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan, up to 50 guests can now attend weddings and funerals or cremations, up from 21 earlier, subject to COVID-19 norms. Weddings can now take place in courts but processions are not allowed, the order said.

All shops can continue to operate from 9 am to 8 pm, and restaurants and bars, including those in hotels and malls, are allowed to open from 10 am to 10 pm with 50 percent seating capacity.

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The timings for shopping malls will continue to be from 10 am to 8 pm and swimming pools and spas in the state would continue to remain closed.

Uttarkhand extends lockdown till 29 June

The Uttarakhand government decided to extend the lockdown in the state for another week from 22 June but allowed hotels, restaurants and bars to open at half their capacities.

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It also decided to open the chardham yatra for locals (people of Chamoli district can visit Badrinath and those of Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts can go to Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri) from 1 July and for people from the rest of the state from 11 July, Cabinet minister and state government’s official spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said. Bringing a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report, however, will be compulsory for the pilgrims, he said.

The state government had decided to open the chardham yatra partially for locals last week too but had to withdraw the decision in view of the coronavirus situation.

Bringing a negative RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen test report will be compulsory also for people coming to the state from outside or those going to hill areas from the plains, Uniyal said.

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General stores and groceries will now be open for five days in a week, closing only on Saturdays and Sundays and hotels, restaurants and bars can operate with 50 percent of their capacity till 10 pm, he added.

All government, semi-government and private offices can also open with 50 percent strength while offices connected with essential services will open with full capacity.

Weekend curfew lifted in eight J&K districts

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration  announced the lifting of weekend curfew from eight districts, — Shopian, Ganderbal and Bandipora in Kashmir and Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur in Jammu province — but said night curfew will continue from 8 pm to 7 am.

The SEC also authorised deputy commissioners to allow the opening of paid and unpaid parks for public use across the Union Territory, only after local assessment of the conditions and after due consideration and subject to COVID-appropriate measures.

All outdoor shops and trades are permitted to open on all days, only from 7 am till 7 pm, 50 percent of the shops in the indoor shopping complexes and malls can open subject to a roster to be issued by concerned Deputy Commissioners and all government and private offices can function without any restrictions subject to strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, stated the order by Chief Secretary AK Mehta.

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The SEC asked the district magistrates to constitute joint teams of police and executive magistrates for enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour.

In the rest of the 12 districts, including Srinagar, the order said the weekend curfew from Friday 8 pm till Monday 7 am and daily night curfew from 8 pm till 7 am shall continue to remain in force.

Tamil Nadu announces relaxations in 27 districts

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The Tamil Nadu government too eased curbs while extending lockdown till 6 am on 28 June. The state government announced more relaxations in lockdown norms for 27 districts and bus services are all set to resume in four districts including Chennai from Monday, after a gap of 42 days.

Categorising 38 districts into three separate groups for the purpose of easing curbs, the government allowed more relaxations for 23 districts in the second category and four districts in the third slot got the most of relaxations that includes resumption of bus services.

The first group of 11 districts, seven in western region including Coimbatore and four in Cauvery delta areas including Thanjavur have not been given additional relaxations, but would continue to have the current guidelines.

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Southern districts including Tuticorin, Ariyalur and Tiruchirappalli in central delta region are among the 23 districts in the second group.In this group of districts, essential government departments would function with 100 percent workforce, other wings with 50 percent and private firms with 33 percent. For travel in autos and taxis, e-registration is necessary.

Chennai, and its nearby Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram and Chengelpet districts in northern region falls under the third category. In these areas, all government offices would work with 100 percent employees and private companies with 50 percent staffers.

Dispensing with the e-registration requirement in Chennai and the three nearby districts, the government said people could travel in autorickshaws and taxis without such prior approval.

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Metro Rail services in Chennai would resume with 50 percent occupancy and similarly intra and inter-district bus (non- airconditioned) services also shall become operational in four districts including Chennai with 50 percent seat occupancy, the government said in an official release.

Relaxations common to 27 districts include an extension of time for a variety of retail shops including standalone provision and vegetable stores besides salons till 7 pm from 6 am. All kinds of construction activities are allowed in these 27 districts.

The activities prohibited include a bar on public entry to places of worship. Cinemas would continue to be closed down across the
state though film shoots are permitted with a maximum of 100 personnel.

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Schools, colleges and universities, though could carry on admissions-related administrative work, but would in effect remain closed for regular classes for students. For a visit to hill stations including Kodaikanal and the Nilgiris district, e-pass from district collectors is necessary.

Sputnik V roll out delayed in Delhi

In vaccine related news, the roll out of Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V at Indraprastha Apollo and Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital in Delhi has been delayed for some days.

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A spokesperson of Apollo Hospitals said the facility in Delhi will tentatively start administering the two-dose vaccine by 25 June.

According to an official of Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital, there is a delay on the part of the suppliers and the roll out is expected next week

Fortis Healthcare, which had said it would make Sputnik V available at its Gurgaon and Mohali hospitals from Saturday, also has not started administering the Russian vaccine so far. “The roll out did not happen on Saturday. We expect there will be some clarity on Monday,” an official said.

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With inputs from PTI

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