With COVID-19 lockdown likely to be extended further after May 31 to contain the spread of coronavirus, authorities in Kashmir are mulling to ease restrictions and possibly allow public transport and reopening of restaurants subject to certain conditions.
Auto-rickshaws and cabs, with up to two passengers, may be allowed to operate in green and orange zones as domestic flights have already started arriving at Srinagar airport from May 25. The administration in Srinagar has already ordered for removing barricades in all green and orange zones of the district.
Confirming the developments, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that people must now learn to live with COVID-19. “We have ordered for the removal of barricades in all green and orange zones for the smooth movement of people and emergency cases,” he said.
However, the DC was quick to add that deliberations are on with stakeholders on revival of the economy and survival of livelihood. “The final decision will be taken on May 31 when lockdown guidelines will be reviewed at the Centre, State and UT levels,” Choudhary said.
“We are taking a call after assessing when was the last case reported and accordingly, barricades are being removed in green and orange zones,” he said and added that his message to people of Srinagar is to get ready to live with the pandemic as there is no treatment to it so far.
However, officials said, the new guidelines will require to undertake strict measures in containment zones and ensure early contact tracing. “In green zones, though, there will be flexibility to reopen economic activities while banning spitting in public and promoting use of masks and frequent hand-washing,” they said.
Till now due to the absence of public transport, the movement of people has been hindered and only those with special passes issued by the district magistrate offices are being allowed to move. “However, in all likelihood public transport may be allowed to operate in green and orange zones with certain conditions,” they added.