Red, Green And Orange Zones – What’s It All About?

By Dixit Arora +2 more

We are already into the 7th week of the lockdown that began on March 24th. During the last few weeks, countries like the USA saw a surge in COVID-19 cases. However, India’s fate has turned out to be different.

Since India was one of the first countries to implement lockdown measures, our COVID-19 numbers are under control. Experts have concluded India would have had millions of cases by May if lockdown wasn’t implemented.

Red, Green And Orange Zones - What's It All About? - PharmEasy

The COVID-19 fight continues

Although the lockdown has led to fewer cases, the fight isn’t over yet. At this moment, India has 33,509 active cases. The cases could go up exponentially if lockdown norms were to be relaxed.

But at the same time, one needs to take into account India’s economy. The lockdown has had a crippling effect on the economy, as India’s GDP growth is expected to fall to 1.5-2.8% for FY 2020-21.

To tackle the issue of restarting the economy gradually while keeping COVID-19 cases low, the Indian government has decided to adopt a dynamic approach to lockdown.

The idea of zones

The government has divided the entire country into three zones – red, orange and green.


What does this mean? Depending on the number of COVID-19 cases a region has, it will be classified as either red, green or orange.

What are the criteria for classifying a district into a particular zone?

If a particular district has over 15 cases, then it will be considered a hotspot, and be classified as a red zone.

For districts whose COVID-19 cases are below 15 and don’t seem to be increasing at present, they will be labelled orange zones.

Green zones will be the districts with zero COVID-19 cases.

Do’s and Don’ts according to the zones

Note that air and train travel are not allowed across the country as of now.

Red zones

What’s allowed

  •   Private offices with 33% of staff
  •   Manufacturing and selling of essential goods
  •   Government offices
  •   Essential services like police and fire brigade
  •   Movement of people for permitted activities only
  •   All standalone shops
  •   Courier and postal services

What’s not allowed

  • Industrial activities outside Special Economic Zones
  • Malls and cinema halls
  • Inter and intradistrict buses
  • Taxis and auto-rickshaws
  • Barbershop and spas

Orange zones

What’s allowed

In addition to all the activities permitted in red zones, the following is allowed –

  • Taxis allowed with 1 passenger and a driver.
  • All four-wheelers with 2 passengers and a driver
  • All two-wheelers with a pillion rider
  • Interdistrict movement of vehicles
  • Barbershop and spas

What’s not allowed

  • Inter and intradistrict buses

Green zones

What’s allowed

All activities are allowed in green zones with few restrictions. Buses can operate with 50% capacity.

What’s not allowed

Certain activities are prohibited nationwide like the opening of malls, train and air travel, interstate road movement and opening of educational institutions.

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 Zone classification in major cities

Delhi – The entire national capital region is a red zone at present.

Mumbai – Mumbai is the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Maharashtra. It has been labelled as a red zone.

Chennai – With 300 cases and counting, Chennai has been designated as a red zone.

Kolkata – Most cases in West Bengal have been registered in Kolkata. The city is a COVID-19 hotspot and has been tagged as a red zone.

What should you do?

Comply with the government guidelines to avoid COVID-19. Moreover, follow social distancing and other personal hygiene practices to ensure you remain safe.


  • As of 2021 and 2022, the coloured zone categorisation has fallen out of use. This may be due to the fact that most if not all districts around the country had at least 1 case.
  • During 2020 and 2021, India was among the countries with the highest number of Covid-19 cases, but the country was also among the fastest to roll out vaccination measures.
  • As of February 2022, India has vaccinated roughly 70% of its population with at least 1 dose, while over 55% has received both doses.
  • The Omicron variant that began rapidly spreading in late 2021 and early 2022, may require the need for booster shots, this may begin with immuno-compromised individuals first. 
  • Lastly, most cities/states have begun using local forms of zoning such as declaring containment or micro-containment zones on the basis of reported Covid-19 cases.


Note that the fight against COVID-19 is going to be a long one. It’s time all of us unite to tackle COVID-19 and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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