Moving to tighten measures aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced that any gathering — be it religious, family, social, political or cultural — of more than 50 people will not be allowed in the national capital.
The ban on gatherings, Kejriwal indicated, will cover the Shaheen Bagh protest as well. “It will be applicable to everyone, be it protest or any other gathering,” he said, when specifically asked about the sit-in against CAA, NPR and the proposed NRC, which has been on for three months now.
Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed to MNCs in Gurgaon to reduce attendance at their offices, and allow as many people as possible to work from home as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.
Seven people have tested positive for coronavirus in Delhi so far — while two have been discharged, a 68-year-old woman has died, and the rest are under observation.
“Any gathering social/cultural/political/religious/academic/sports/seminar/conference and family mass gathering (except marriages) is restricted to a maximum of 50 persons in NCT of Delhi till March 31, 2020,” states the order issued by the Delhi Health Department.
“Marriage functions will be out of its purview as of now but we appeal to people to postpone weddings if possible,” Kejriwal told a press conference after reviewing his government’s efforts with district magistrates, sub-divisional magistrates, municipal commissioners and cabinet ministers.
The government has also ordered the shutting of gyms, night clubs and spas in the city until March 31. On possible closure of shopping malls, Kejriwal said a decision will be taken in a day or two, though the management of malls have been directed to disinfect the premises daily and also ensure entry of visitors after sanitising their hands.
The Delhi government had previously ordered closure of schools, colleges and cinema halls until March 31. The CM said the 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.
MCD commissioners and SDMs have also been directed to arrange mobile wash basins in public places. Asked about the possibility of a sudden spike 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.”
“I have directed all DMs, SDMs and municipal commissioners to set up portable wash basins with automatic soap dispensers in public spaces that have not yet been shut. The most foolproof way to stop coronavirus from spreading is frequent washing hands with soap,” Kejriwal later tweeted.
He 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, 2020 to act against such gatherings, he pointed out.
On complaints of travellers from Spain and France being put up in an unhygienic quarantine facility in Dwarka, the CM said the government has taken note of the grievances. “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.
“Many people coming from abroad who are being quarantined require high-end facilities. Delhi government has asked three hotels near the airport to set aside 182 rooms for this purpose, at a fixed price,” he added in a tweet.
Kejriwal said the Delhi Metro services will function normally. However, responding to a question, he said the government will consider getting commuters thermally screened at security checkpoints at the stations.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Monday appealed to MNCs in Gurgaon to reduce the attendance at their offices, and allow as many people as possible to work from home as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.
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