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Cases rising, Delhi may not ease lockdown as much as other states

The government has so far notified 57 containment zones in the city, where cases, ranging from one to several, have been reported from.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: April 16, 2020 7:09:35 am
Delhi coronavirus, delhi lockdown, delhi news, coronavirus covid-19 Delhi, delhi coronavirus news, coronavirus covid-19 latest news update, coronavirus, coronavirus update, coronavirus latest news, coronavirus news, india coronavirus news, covid 19, covid 19 news, covid 19 india, covid 19 latest news, covid 19 cases, india covid 19 cases, india covid 19 latest news, coronavirus today news update, coronavirus update Seen at Krishna Nagar on Wednesday. (Express photo: Amit Mehra)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): The capital will see firmer lockdown restrictions, especially in containment zones and adjoining areas, with the Delhi government laying thrust on Home Ministry’s permission to states to go for “stricter measures”, rather than immediately working on proposals to offer relaxations.

During the day, a series of review meetings were held by Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Khirwar, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Satya Gopal with the city’s district magistrates, who are leading the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The MHA’s revised guidelines, however, offered hope to many sectors and institutions, including the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which said it would be in a position to resume its Phase IV construction work, under which new corridors measuring over 61 km are supposed to come up, after April 20 if the authorities allow.

DMRC Executive Director (Corporate Communication) Anuj Dayal said, “A detailed SOP has been prepared for the same and about 3,500 labourers are being taken care of at various sites of DMRC in Delhi-NCR. Limited construction materials/machinery are available at the sites for immediate resumption of work. However, adequate availability of these materials in the long run depends on the relaxation of lockdown guidelines post May 3, 2020.”

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However, officials present in the review meetings told The Indian Express that for now, the government is more worried about the increase in coronavirus cases in the city, currently standing at 1,578 with 32 deaths.

“The DMs have been directed to take a three-pronged approach — perimeter surveillance, increase in strictness in enforcing the lockdown, and testing. Focus will be on enforcement of the lockdown in containment zones and adjoining buffer zones, coded red and orange respectively. The question on relaxations as enunciated in the MHA guidelines will be taken up at a later stage. Currently the measures will be all aimed at arresting the upward tick in the number of cases,” a senior official said.

The government has so far notified 57 containment zones in the city, where cases, ranging from one to several, have been reported from. The sizes of these clusters also vary, from apartment complexes to narrow lanes in unauthorised colonies.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote to Chief Secretary Vijay Dev stating that “states/Union Territories cannot dilute restrictions imposed vide the guidelines issued by the MHA. States/UTs may, however, impose stricter measures, than these guidelines as per requirement”.

Going by the revised guidelines issued by the MHA, the relaxations that might be considered by the Delhi government include allowing continuation of work in construction projects within the limits of municipal corporations where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside.

Also, allowing services provided by electricians, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters will be considered. However, the modalities, including whether they will be allowed special passes for commuting “are to be worked out”, a district official said.

The guidelines on resuming industrial activities won’t have much impact in Delhi, with the city being entirely within limits of municipal corporations. Some manufacturing units producing essential goods such as drugs and medical devices may be allowed after April 20 only if the owners adhere to guidelines in terms of social distancing and hygiene, an official said.

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