No plan to impose lockdown in Delhi, says Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who addressed a video briefing an hour after he announced his recovery from Covid-19, said the Delhi has reported around 22,000 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours
NEW DELHI: Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the Delhi government does not have any plan to impose lockdown in the national Capital even as the fifth wave of infections continues to spread across the city.
The chief minister said Delhi has reported around 22,000 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The daily health bulletin for Sunday will be released later in the evening. Saturday’s bulletin indicated the city added 20,181 fresh cases of Covid-19, and 19.6% tests returned positive results. Delhi’s test positivity rate is the highest it has been since May 9 last year, when the statistic hit 21.67%. Dehi’s Covid positivity rate on December 28 was less than 1%.
Arvind Kejriwal announced his recovery from Covid-19 infection on Twitter and addressed a video briefing soon after where he appealed to everyone to not panic and keep strictly following all Covid protocols. The chief minister underlined that though the city is witnessing rapid Covid-19 transmission, hospital beds occupancy is very low, and the recovery is very high.
“During the last Covid wave, 20,000 single day cases were reported on May 7, 2021 but there were 341 deaths and 20,000 hospital beds were occupied. Delhi reported 20,000 cases on January 8, but there were only seven deaths and 1500 beds are occupied,” the chief minister stated, adding that he was keeping a close eye on the Covid situation even as he stays under home isolation.
Delhi Disaster Management Authority has called a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the prevailing Covid situation with experts and top officials and decide if the Capital needs more economic and travel restrictions to check the coronavirus spread.
As of now, the DDMA has ordered a weekend curfew, a 10pm- 5am night curfew on weekdays and advised private offices to make at least 50% of their staff work from home.
All Delhi government employees have been asked to work from home or online, except those engaged in essential and emergency services such as fire services, prison, water supply, health, etc.
Shops in shopping malls and markets have been told to operate on an odd-even basis (10am-8pm) , dine-in services at restaurants and bars is capped at 50% seating capacity on weekdays and only takeaways are allowed during the weekend curfew.
On week days, one weekly market in a zone is allowed to open per day and authorities have been asked to take steps to ensure crowd management. Only 20 people are allowed to attend weddings and funerals.
Officials said all these restrictions are likely to continue for the time being.
Graded Response Action Plan spells out four different levels of economic restrictions which will come into force at different levels of positivity rate. The lowest level of alert is classified as ‘Yellow Alert’ and came into force when the positivity rate breached 0.5% mark and stayed above it for two consecutive days, and the highest level of alert is classified as ‘Red Alert’ which is planned to come into force if 5% positivity rate breached and the positivity stayed above 5% for two consecutive days. ‘Red Alert’ (level 4) under GRAP spells almost lockdown like restrictions. Under ‘Red Alert’ a complete curfew is to be imposed, Delhi Metro will be closed, only essential private offices are permitted to open, malls are closed. Essential shops are allowed and only standalone non-essential shops are allowed between 10am to 6pm.
Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the epidemiology and communicable diseases department in ICMR, said the weekend curfew is designed to restrict movement of individuals and will help slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
“The experience of different Omicron hit countries of the world shows that the number of cases will further increase in the country, especially in the weeks to come. Omicron spreads four times faster than the Delta variant, but infection is mild.... The peak is likely to reach in the first week of February. The people should avoid meeting people and avoid gatherings and comply with the guidelines,” said Dr Lalit. He also added that the use of mask is very important, and because of better fitting and better filtration ability, N95 masks provide better protection.