The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday issued Unlock 4.0 guidelines and allowed the resumption of Metro services from September 7 in a graded manner. Other guidelines will come into effect from September 1 and the lockdown measures are to be strictly enforced in containment zones till September 30, it said.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation confirmed that it will restart services from September 7. “Further details on the Metro functioning and its usage by the general public will be shared once the detailed standard operation procedure on Metros is issued,” it said.

The Centre also relaxed travel restrictions and said inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods will not be prohibited now. No separate permission or approval or e-permit will be required for such movements.

Social, academic, sports, entertainment functions and other congregations would be permitted with up to 100 persons from September 21, the new guidelines added. Mandatory wearing of face masks, physical distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitisers will be necessary to hold such limited gatherings.

Schools, colleges, educational institutions, indoor theatres, swimming pools will remain closed till September 30. Open air theatres will also be permitted to open from September 21.

Students of Classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones, but only on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. Up to 50% of school staff can also be called to schools for online teaching, which includes non-teaching employees too.

Under the new rules, states and Union Territories have been directed to not impose any lockdowns outside containment zones without prior consultation from the Centre.

A complete lockdown in India was first imposed on March 24 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It has been relaxed considerably over the past four months and the Centre has given permission for many economic activities to resume.

Gyms and yoga institutes, outside containment zones, were allowed to open as per Unlock 3.0 guidelines issued on July 29.

International air travel continues to remain banned except for the air bubbles already in place.

On Sunday, India registered a massive increase of 78,761 new cases of Covid-19 in 24 hours, taking the total cases to 35,42,733. So far, this is the largest single-day increase globally. The toll in the country is now at 63,498. The number of people who have recovered from the disease is 27,13,933.