Red, Orange and Green Zones India's Plan to handle COVID-19 pandemic: Complete Overview of Hotspots / Containment Strategy

What are Red, Orange and Green Zones for COVID-19: Know what are red, orange and green zones announced by government as part of its containment strategy for COVID-19 hotspots and to curb spread of the disease. Get complete overview and details here.

Coronavirus lockdown extension
Coronavirus lockdown extension

What are Red, Orange and Green Zones for COVID-19: With the lockdown due to Coronavirus pandemic extended until 3rd May, the government has decided to allow relaxations in the lockdown starting from 20th April 2020. PM Modi in his speech said touched upon the importance of safe guarding lives as well the economic prosperity of the country and proposed a balanced approach to handle crisis. In response, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued detailed guidelines to manage the crisis by classifying the country into three different zones i.e. Red, Orange and Green. The new cluster containment plan  is likely to see the country move from a complete lockdown to a ‘smart lockdown’.

Need of Smart Lockdown – Red, Orange and Green Zones

The government has decided to adopt the ‘middle path’ approach during lockdown extension and impose a smart lockdown by categorising areas into red, orange and green zones. One of the key reasons behind the middle-path approach of Central Government is its focus on dwindling economy. With the economic activity in the country at a standstill for the last fortnight, the centre now has to shoulder the all-important responsibility of lifting the lockdown to restart the economy before it suffers from irreversible damage. This is where the idea of a smart lockdown comes into picture.

Smart lockdown will allow the government to extend the on-going lockdown which is pivotal to flatten the curve and save lives while also allowing it to grant relaxations in certain areas and cases to ensure the survival of the economy as well. This is where colour coding of Red, Orange and Green Zones come into picture.

Zone-wise Classification of Country

Under the Lockdown 2.0 or the Smart Lockdown, the country will be divided or classified into three key zones-Red, Orange and Green. Derived from the colour of the traffic lights, these zones will support the cluster containment plan announced by the government, while opening up the rest of the places. The detailed understand of the different zones and how they are classified is as follows:

Red Zone: Similar to how a red traffic light brings all activity on road to a halt, a district or cluster declared as a red zone, will see severe restrictions with zero or no activity allowed. To be declared as a ‘Red Zone’ a district or an area has to qualify the following criterion

  • Highest case load districts contributing to more than 80% of cases in lndia
  • Highest case load districts contributing to more than 80% of cases for each state in India
  • Districts with doubling rate less than 4 days (calculated every Monday for last 7 days, to be determined by the state government)

Orange Zone: Again continuing the traffic light analogy, the places that are placed under orange zone will have restrictions in place, while also seeing some form of easing of lockdown measures. Orange zone may see opening of limited public transport and also allow exemptions for essential services personnel and farming and harvest activity for the on-going season. As per the guidelines shared by the Health Ministry a Red Zone can be declared as an Orange Zone if

  • No fresh cases have been reported from the area for 14 days

Green Zone: This zone will see maximum easing of lockdown restrictions to bring a sense of normalcy back to the country. According to the guidelines, areas under green zone will see opening of MSME industries with in-house lodging facilities for employees with proper maintenance of social distance. On similar lines MNREGA and other projects can also become operational. However, Home Ministry has issued a separate SOP for workplaces and factories / industries that are allowed to operate in the Green Zone during the extended lockdown. An Orange zone will be downgraded to a Green zone only if,

  • No fresh cases have been reported from the area for 28 days

What will be allowed to open?

  • MSME industries : Some MSMEs falling under the green zone will be allowed to operate with in-house lodging facilities for the employees, while ensuring proper maintenance of social distancing norms.
  • Agricultural activities: Agricultural activities are expected to be allowed in lockdown 2.0 in both orange and green zones with strict maintenance of social distancing rule. 

What will not be allowed?

  • Malls/ Restaurants: Despite easing of restrictions in the safe zones, malls and restaurants may not open. 
  • Large-scale movement of people: The Chief Ministers vehemently opposed the idea of any large scale inter-state movement of people, saying they do not have the capacity to put thousands of people in quarantine together.

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