CHANDIGARH: The Haryana government on Sunday extended the COVID lockdown by a fortnight while allowing various relaxations permitted earlier to continue. The relaxations include the opening of restaurants, bars, malls, clubhouses and shops.

“The Mahamari Alert-Surakshit Haryana is extended for another fortnight, that is from August 23 (5 am onwards) to September 6 (till 5 am) in the state of Haryana along with guidelines to be implemented during this period issued vide earlier orders,” an order issued by Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan said on Sunday.

The order was issued in the exercise of powers under various provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

As per other relaxations allowed earlier, conduct of entrance and recruitment examination by different universities, institutes or government departments and recruitment agencies will continue to be permissible.

The order said that all COVID-related guidelines including those related to social distancing, sanitization and seating capacity, however, will have to be followed.

Universities and colleges will be allowed to reopen for students for doubt classes, practical classes in laboratories, practical examinations and offline exams with strict adherence to the COVID-related norms, earlier orders provided.

Vice-chancellors of universities in the state are advised to plan the reopening of universities from the next academic session and share the programme of the same with the concerned department of the state government.

Immediate action may be initiated/ensured by the university administration to fully vaccinate all hostel students, day scholars, faculty and other staff including the outsourced ones, the order said. There will be a continuous focus on the five-fold strategy for the effective management of COVID-19, that is test-trace-track-vaccination and adherence of COVID-appropriate behaviour, earlier orders said.

The state government has termed the lockdown “Mahamari Alert-Surakshit Haryana (Epidemic Alert-Safe Haryana)” and it was imposed on May 3, 2021, and subsequently the same was extended from time to time on a weekly basis.

However, from August 9, it has been extended by a fortnight.