Graded easing of curbs to give most relief to low-risk regions
However, none of the relaxations would be applicable to the containment zones. Till Friday, Delhi had 3,738 cases of Covid-19 and 96 containment zones.Updated: May 02, 2020 03:44 IST
The Union home ministry’s order of extending the nationwide lockdown till May 17 has opened some room for conditional relaxations in the Capital. Movement of limited people in private vehicles, opening of essential shops in markets and shopping complexes, partial operations of private offices, in terms of physical attendance, industrial activities in notified estates and industrial areas, and in-situ construction activities could soon become a reality.
However, none of the relaxations would be applicable to the containment zones. Till Friday, Delhi had 3,738 cases of Covid-19 and 96 containment zones.
As on May 1, all 11 revenue districts in Delhi were hot spots or red zones. The fresh order, however, has listed seven broad areas in which even districts categorised as red zones can permit certain activities with conditional restrictions, but not inside notified containment zones.
Operation of public transport, taxi services, autorickshaws, barbershops, spas and salons are explicitly prohibited in the red zones. The order also continued the ban on the sale of non-essential items by e-commerce companies.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said that the Capital, so far, has managed to turn four containment zones into green zones. However, these areas continue to be within districts that have mostly been categorised as a red zone or a high-risk zone.
“Before scaling down restrictions in any locality, we will conduct thorough medical screening of each and every resident in the area. The relaxations, accordingly, will be based on the medical results of the population in that area,” said Jain.
The health minister said that the Delhi government will soon come out with its own order to clarify allowed activities during the extended lockdown. State governments have been empowered to not allow any relaxation or impose stricter restrictions, if it deems fit, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the city.
Under the MHA’s order issued on Friday, states can allow movement of individuals and vehicles (with a maximum of three occupants in cars and one occupant on two-wheelers) under permitted activities. “We need some clarification from the Centre on whether ‘permitted activities’ can extend essential services,” a Delhi government official said.
The order stated that all stand-alone and neighbourhood shops, and those in residential complexes, irrespective of essential or non-essential goods, are allowed to remain open, but social distancing and wearing of masks by the staff are essential.
Private offices can operate with 33% staff strength physically present on the premises and the rest working from home, the order states. All government officials, of deputy secretary rank and higher, can function with 100% staff, while 33% staff strength is allowed for other ranks.
“We were already deliberating on opening some services under the public service sector, that include basics such as the issuance of birth certificate, death certificates, income certificates and caste certificates. The order provides room for that,” said another government official.
Some of the enlisted activities that can witness scaling down of restrictions are reiterations of old guidelines, for instance, allowing activities in notified industrial areas and construction activity at sites that provide for accommodation of workers.
Alcohol shops in Delhi are not likely to open, said senior officials, adding that the provisions regarding scaling down curbs on alcohol shops are applicable in public places, which essentially mean areas within orange and green zones. Delhi currently has none of them.
Under the fresh order, states have been tasked with evaluating categories of districts in terms of red, orange and green zones, every seven days.