The announcement of lockdown relaxations from May 4 in Delhi came with a fresh set of prohibitions Sunday — strictures on outdoor activities of people aged above 65, children below 10 and those with serious illnesses.
According to the May 3 health bulletin, out of the 64 COVID-19 deaths, 33 were aged 60 and above. Of 4,549 positive cases, 736 people fall in this age bracket, which shows the high mortality rates among the elderly due to the virus.
“Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, shall stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes,” the government said in a statement. The government has time and again advised the elderly to remain indoors.
It also announced that in-situ construction activities — construction projects having workers present in their sites — can resume. Reacting to the announcement, the Delhi Metro said: “DMRC is prepared to start construction work at its sites if allowed by the government. All government guidelines and directions shall be followed.” DMRC currently has around 3,500 workers available for working on its Phase IV project.
While private offices, with 33% staff, have been allowed to function, it was not immediately clear how employees will commute to work. In the absence of any verification mechanism, any individual can take out their car or bike and go out claiming to be commuting to office. “There is no clarity. Even if we check IDs, how does one establish if that person is a part of the 33% called by his or her office?” a senior official asked.
Shops and establishments extending services such as barber shops, salons and spas will remain closed. In markets, only shops selling essential items can open while all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops and those inside residential complexes can open businesses, irrespective of whether essential or non-essential.
“I believe enforcing the lockdown was very essential at that point (last week of March). Had it not been implemented, the country would have faced serious consequences. However, after 1.5 months, at least in Delhi, we are fully prepared to lift the restrictions,” CM Arvind Kejriwal said during a webcast.
He said the lockdown was having grave consequences on the economy with revenue drying up. “Where will we give salaries from?” Kejriwal asked, reaching out to the Centre to allow more relaxations in Delhi.
The CM also pitched for an odd-even system in throwing open markets as well: “We will now have to learn to live with corona. Both governments and people need to prepare themselves for it. If lockdown is lifted, there will be a little spike in cases, but we are ready to tackle that. We have told the Centre that containment zones should be kept under lockdown and the rest of the city should be thrown open.”
Like in the previous two phases of the lockdown, travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road, cabs, autos, buses and e-rickshaws will remain prohibited. Running of schools, colleges; hotels and restaurants; cinema halls, malls, gyms; social, political, cultural and other kinds of gatherings; religious places are also prohibited.
Meanwhile, two more containment zones — Bengali Market and a part of East of Kailash — were desealed on Sunday, bringing down the number of such zones to 94.
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