Updated: April 15, 2021 9:03:33 pm
The Delhi government Thursday announced fresh curbs to tackle Covid-19 in the city including a weekend curfew, closure of shopping malls, auditoriums, gyms, spas, bars and dine-in services at restaurants.
While weekend curfew will remain in force between 10 pm Friday and 5 am Monday, the other curbs, along with the night curfew, will stay till April 30, according to an order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).
Addressing a webcast, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the restrictions are being imposed to arrest the spread of the virus, which has put the medical infrastructure and healthcare workers under tremendous strain.
According to the DDMA order, cinema halls will be allowed to open with a 30 per cent capacity. At restaurants, home delivery and takeaway services will be allowed, and during weekends, the movement of members of families that have marriages scheduled in the coming weekends will also be allowed.
At marriages and funerals, up to 50 and 20 persons respectively will be allowed.
For people falling under those categories, e-passes shall be issued by the district authorities. Those engaged with essential services have been kept out of the ambit of the curbs, the CM added.
Categories exempted include government officials, police, health workers, pregnant women and other patients, people travelling to and from airports, railway stations and ISBTs, electronic and print media. There will also be no restriction on inter-state or intra-state movement or transportation of essential or non-essential goods.
Those engaged in running shops dealing with groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish will also remain exempted. During the weekend curfew, public transport like buses, metro and cabs or autos will be allowed to ferry only those falling in the exempted categories and essential services workers.
Last year, Delhi was under complete lockdown between March 22 and May 18. Beginning May 19, the city reopened in phases.
Here are all the guidelines
The decision to bring back the curbs was taken at a meeting attended by Kejriwal, Lt Governor Anil Baijal and top officials of the Delhi administration. Kejriwal had earlier announced that he was not in favour of a lockdown but will have no option but to impose it if hospitals start running out of beds.
According to the Delhi government’s dashboard at 6 pm, out of the 15,346 beds for Covid-19 patients in Delhi, 4,632 are currently vacant. In case of ICU beds, only 494 out of 3,805 are available. However, multiple accounts have emerged on social media complaining that the ground situation is worse than the dashboard data.
“There is no shortage of beds in Delhi. Over 5,000 beds are available and we are trying to add more beds, including those with oxygen support. But cases are rising and the government has taken a few measures. Weekend curfew will be imposed in the city. On weekdays, people go out to earn. During weekends, people mostly go out for entertainment purposes. So, to break the chain of transmission, weekend curbs are being enforced,” Kejriwal said.
Later, he told NDTV that L-G Baijal will approach the Centre for more beds in hospitals coming under the Union government. Asked about the possibility of a prolonged lockdown, Kejriwal said, “The situation is extraordinary so the weekend curfew is being imposed. And this will remain in force only this coming weekend.”
“As on date, a lockdown does not look necessary. I have always been against lockdowns… but today we have a 20 per cent positivity rate. If it dips, then there is no reason to worry. But if it goes on rising, to what extent will we be able to add beds? After all, there are limited doctors and nurses,” the CM added.
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