NEW DELHI: India is currently in the last week of fourth phase of nationwide lockdown. The government is likely to extend lockdown or call it 'lockdown 5.0', for two weeks with some stringent measures in 11 cities across the country that account for 70 per cent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country.
According to media reports, the central government and health ministry authorities are aiming to focus majorly on the states where their metro cities have more number of cases. It is also being planned to increase the number of testing in the rural areas.
According to government sources, this decision will be accompanied by more relaxations of lockdown like opening up of transport services such as metro and buses in most parts of the country.
Shopping malls which have been shut for over two months are also expected to open in green zones. However, the government is still weighing the gradual rise in the number of cases across the country.
As per reports, in the fifth phase of lockdown, the major focus will be on active containment areas in 11 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune, Thane, Jaipur, Surat and Indore.
As the number of cases is likely to surge in the rural areas because of the return of migrants to their villages from metros, the government is planning for ramping up of the number of tests there.
Religious places are also expected to open with strict implementation of precautionary measures. However, mass gatherings and events on festivals will be restricted.
Karnataka on Wednesday announced the reopening of all religious places across the state from June 1.
Opening of gyms and workout clubs could be a major relief for health and fitness buffs in Lockdown 5.0
Meanwhile, India has reported 6,566 new novel coronavirus cases and 194 deaths in the past 24 hours. This is the second-highest number of deaths in a 24-hour period since the outbreak began. The total number of cases is now at 1,58,333, the number of deaths linked to the infectious virus is 4,531 and the number of people who have recovered is 67,692, according to data from the Union Health Ministry on Thursday morning.