With the COVID-19 situation remaining grim in Delhi despite a mini-lockdown, the city government may consider extending it by some more days, sources said on Saturday. On April 19, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdown that will be in force till 5am on Monday, saying the step was taken to break the chain of the coronavirus infection and boost the health system that was on the verge of collapse.
"The idea behind the brief lockdown was that it will control the cases and give time to boost the health infrastructure, but the situation has gone from bad to worse. In such a situation, extending the lockdown, by maybe another week, is a possible option," a source in the Delhi government said. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government decided to impose the week-long lockdown to curb the spread of the virus in the national capital, Kejriwal had said while announcing the measure.
However, the COVID-19 positivity rate is still over 30 per cent in Delhi and the number of fresh cases continues to rise. A total of 24,331 cases were reported in the city on Friday and the positivity rate was 32.43 per cent. In an appeal to migrant workers not to leave the city due to the lockdown, Kejriwal had hoped that there might not be a need to extend it further.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Trade and Industry claimed that according to a survey conducted by it, 70 per cent of the Delhi traders favour extending the lockdown. The traders' body is in favour of the lockdown being extended till April 30, its chairman Brijesh Goyal said.
Community platform LocalCircles has also appealed to the authorities, including the chief minister and the lieutenant governor, to extend the lockdown in view of the "biggest health emergency" faced by the city. There is an urgent need to add capacity to the medical infrastructure and flatten the daily COVID cases, LocalCircles chairman Sachin Tapadia said, suggesting an extension of the lockdown by one or two weeks.