Independence Day amid Covid-19: Defence ministry’s special arrangements for celebrations at Red Fort
The Ministry of Defence is organising an Independence Day Flag Hoisting Ceremony on August 15 at Red Fort in Delhi, maintaining the balance between the sanctity and dignity of the national function while factoring in precautions related to the Covid-19 scenario.
All invitees have been requested to wear masks. Besides, an adequate number of suitable masks are being kept handy for distribution at various points of venue. Similarly, the availability of hand sanitizers at pre-defined locations has been done. Display boards are placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees.
Participation to the event is only through invitation and members who do not have formal invites have been requested to refrain from coming to the venue. About 4,000 plus invites have been issued to officials, diplomats, members of public, media etc.
Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned. Thorough sanitization of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out regularly.
Adequate medical booths at four locations have been set up - near the rampart, at Madhavdas Park and a couple of them at 15 August Park. The booths will cater to any attendee who is detected having any symptoms related to Covid-19 during the entry. Ambulances would also be stationed at the four locations.
The seating enclosures and walkways have been laid with wooden flooring and carpeting to facilitate seamless movement of guests, at the time avoiding overcrowding of people. Additional door frame metal detectors, with adequately spaced markings, have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage of all the invitees. Most of the parking areas have been brick-lined and paved to ensure smooth entry and exit of vehicles.
Members of the Guard of Honour have been under quarantine to bring in safety. The guiding principle for seating has been “do gaz ki doori” - 6 feet distance between any two guests seated during the event.
With an eye on safety, NCC Cadets have been invited to witness the event (instead of young school children) and they will be seated at Gyanpath.
In order to sensitize the invitees towards Covid-19 related safety measures, a special advisory for following the guidelines has been issued along with each invitation card. A ‘ request card’ would be placed on each seat for the invitees to exhibit restraint and patience during dispersal after the conclusion of the function. Traffic Police advisory will also contain a note on the matter.
An orderly dispersal plan has been put in place for implementation through the controlling officials at various enclosures. In this regard, cooperation of all invitees will be earnestly and consistently requested.
Ceremonial drills have also factored in social distancing norms as well as other precautionary measures.