Updated: March 16, 2020 5:51:39 pm
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that any gathering – religious, family, social, political or cultural – of over 50 people will not be allowed in the national capital in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed one life in the national capital so far.
The ban on gatherings, the Aam Aadmi Party chief indicated, will also cover the Shaheen Bagh protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register.
Several steps taken today to deal wid Corona. pic.twitter.com/9GgeRxOEED
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 16, 2020
While addressing reporters after reviewing the Delhi government’s efforts to tackle the spread of the disease with DMs, SDMs, municipal commissioners and Cabinet ministers, Kejriwal ordered the shutting of gyms, night clubs and spas in the city till March 31.
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“We have also decided to shut gyms, night clubs, spas till March 31. And gatherings of over 50 people, be it religious, social, political, family, or cultural, will also be not allowed. Marriage functions will be out of its purview as of now but we appeal to people to postpone weddings if possible,” Kejriwal told reporters.
When asked if the ban will have the Shaheen Bagh protests under its ambit, Kejriwal said: “It will be applicable for everyone, be it protest or any other gathering.”
On possible closure of shopping malls, the chief minister said a decision will be taken in a day or two depending on how the situation evolves.
Kejriwal said the Delhi government is implementing the guidelines of the Centre and working with it in close coordination. “We are quarantining people wherever needed. For possible large scale hospitalisation, we have made sufficient arrangements, including setting aside 500 beds. There is no need for them as of now. People who came in touch with patients have been home quarantined. I appeal to people to ensure home quarantined people abide by norms,” he added.
The MCD commissioners and SDMs have also been directed to arrange mobile wash basins in public places. Asked about the possibility of a sudden spiral like in Italy, Kejriwal said, “We can only learn from other countries. Italy has seen exponential growth. But in India, community transmission has not started.”
The chief minister also advised people not to gather in large numbers during the upcoming navratri festival. The DMs and SDMs have powers under the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID – 19 Regulations, 2020to act against such gatherings, he pointed out.
Kejriwal said the government has taken note of the grievances pertaining to hygiene from travellers from Spain and France put up in a quarantine facility in Dwarka.
“People flying in from abroad mostly belong to the affluent class. In some cases, the facilities may not be up to their expectations. But there are shortcomings also. So, we have made arrangements for them in certain hotels,” he said.
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Delhi Metro services will function normally, Kejriwal said. However, while responding to a question, he added that the government will consider getting commuters thermally screened at the security checkpoints of the stations.
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