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News18 » India
3-min read

Delhi Govt Orders Closure of All Malls; Exempts Grocery and Pharmacy Stores in Them

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said all non-essential public dealing activities of the Delhi government have been stopped till March 31 and only essential public dealing activities will continue.

Rupashree Nanda | CNN-News18

Updated:March 21, 2020, 4:52 PM IST
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Delhi Govt Orders Closure of All Malls; Exempts Grocery and Pharmacy Stores in Them
Image for representation. (PTI)

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday took to Twitter to announce there has been a sudden spurt in positive cases of coronavirus in Delhi, which is a matter of worry.

"In the past 24 hours, the number of coronavirus-positive patients in Delhi has increased, which is a matter of worry. In the past month, Delhi had 10 patients. But in the past 24 hours, six or seven more patients have been reported to be coronavirus-positive," he said. "There has been a sudden spurt in coronavirus and one death has been reported this morning."

The video was part of Kejriwal's address to all Heads of Departments (HODs) and Secretaries of Delhi — the meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendra Jain.

Kejriwal said that all non-essential public dealing activities of the Delhi government have been stopped till March 31 and only essential public dealing activities will continue. All non-essential staff are being directed to work from home. All permanent and contractual employees will be paid for this period. Kejriwal said that employees who will work from home will be at the "beck and call of the government", should be available on phone and willing to report, if and when necessary.

All malls in Delhi will close down in view of the threat of the Virus. However grocery stores, pharmacies and vegetable shops inside these malls will remain open. "In view of the prevailing situation, we are closing down all malls (except grocery, pharmacy and vegetable shops in them)," he said on Twitter.

Earlier on Friday, the Delhi government issued an advisory for all private companies in the NCT of Delhi to allow their workers to work from home. Issued by the Department of Health and Family Affairs in exercise of the powers conferred by the Delhi Epidemic Diseases, COVID-9, Regulations, 2020, under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, all private sector offices (including multinational companies, IT firms, industries, corporate offices, and others) have been advised to allow their officers and employees to work from home till March 31. The government also advised the "general public" to remain at home, particularly senior citizens and persons affected with hypertension or diabetes or respiratory diseases, pregnant women, or those with cardiac diseases or on steroids.

Kejriwal also held a meeting with medical superintendents of all Delhi government hospitals.

"Had a meeting wid MSs of all Delhi govt hospitals. If corona spreads widely in future, our hospitals shud be prepared to deal with such situation - all machines should be working, adequate ventilators, adequate medicines and consumables, manpower, etc," he tweeted.

On Thursday, the total number of coronavirus cases in the national capital rose to 14.

According to the Health Ministry data, the COVID-19 cases in India rose to 195 on Friday after 22 fresh cases were reported from various parts of the country.

After a high-level meeting with the Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday, Kejriwal had announced a series of measures to guard the capital against the potential stage three of the pandemic, which is community transmission. While all restaurants in the capital will remain closed till March 31, delivery and takeaway will be allowed. The government has also banned all gatherings – social, poltical, cultural, family, seminars — with more that 20 people in attendance.

Like Maharashtra earlier, Kejriwal said Delhi has started the process of stamping for all those advised to be in home quarantine and in case of violation of the rules during the quarantine period, the government will not hestitate to file an FIR or take that person into custody. All educational institutions are shut down till March 31, and now the rule also applies to the staff of the educational institutes – both teaching and non –teaching.

The government on March 17 had initiated a disinfection drive for the city’s buses and public transport vehicles. Two days later, the hours of the drive were extended. Instead of the five hours in two shifts, now the free service to the capital’s autos, private cabs vehicles and e-rickshaws will be available for eight hours — from 10am to 6pm at the DTC cluster and bus depots.

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