Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday announced that the borders of the national capital will be sealed for a week. The announcement comes amid indications that beds in Delhi government-run hospitals will be reserved for the city’s residents only. This, following a consistent four-digit rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the city since March 28. However, within the city, there will be more relaxations, Kejriwal said, announcing the decision to allow barber shops and salons to open and lifting the odd-even restrictions from markets.
First, who is allowed to travel across the border?
Those employed in essential services, which includes health services, municipal services, movement of vegetables, grocery and dairy items, banking operations, among others, will be allowed to cross the borders of Delhi.
If you work with the government, you will be allowed into the city — but only if you show your official identity card
If you have a valid movement pass, you will be allowed entry.
Cabs, autos and buses cannot enter Delhi.
Only those with e-passes will be allowed to move across the border.
How will this impact those who come to Delhi from NCR cities such as Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad?
Gurgaon had allowed movement across the border after two weeks starting Monday (June 1). But with Delhi sealing its borders, the restrictions on movement come back on. Several curbs will remain in place, except for those employed in essential services.
The borders at Ghaziabad and Noida, too, have been sealed for several days now. The administrations of these districts have already said that they would stay with the “status quo” even in the new phase of the lockdown that began on Monday (June 1).
So far, traffic could move into Delhi from Noida or Ghaziabad freely, but there were police barricades for traffic in the opposite direction — which meant that residents of these suburbs could go into Delhi to work, but faced problems while returning.
Now, after the decision taken by Delhi on Monday, movement in both directions will be restricted.
But what is the reason behind this decision by the Delhi government?
Chief Minister Kejriwal said that since Delhi’s healthcare services in the government sector are free — and, according to him, also better than in a lot of other states, and there was a possibility that, as the numbers of coronavirus infections increase, patients from outside Delhi would want to get treated in the city.
The government is worried that considering the current Covid case load — the city saw 1,295 new cases on Sunday and the total active cases are around 11,000 — hospitals could get overwhelmed.
There are 6,600 Covid beds in city hospitals so far, of which 2,586 are occupied. This is supposed to go up to 9,500 by June 5. The fear is that these will get occupied within a couple of days if free movement is allowed.
OK, but what happens after a week?
The Delhi government has sought suggestions from people regarding two key decisions: (i) should Delhi’s borders be sealed, and (ii) should treatment in Delhi be restricted to only those who live in Delhi, at least till the pandemic lasts?
Suggestions have to be sent to the government up to Friday evening. Kejriwal said a final decision would be taken after going through these suggestions. Suggestions can be sent through WhatsApp on 8800007722, through email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or by leaving a message by calling 1031.
And what relaxations have been given for people within Delhi?
Barbers and salons can reopen. But spas will remain shut. Markets and shops, which were earlier allowed to open under the odd-even restriction where only half of the shops selling non-essential items were allowed, can now open without restrictions.
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The bar on the number of people who can travel in a car (two passengers), autos (one passenger) and motorcycles (no pillion rider) have all been lifted. The limitation for staggered timings for industries has also been lifted.
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