If Coronavirus Transmission Enters Stage 3, India's Health Infra May Not Cope Up: Kejriwal
Delhi's borders with its neighbouring cities will be sealed. Only goods vehicles carrying essential items will be allowed.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement for a 'Janata Curfew', Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday also made an announcement for complete lockdown of public places in the city.
Various other state governments also called for a complete shutdown in their respective regions, on the day when India saw a total of 396 coronavirus cases.
Kejriwal also announced sealing Delhi's borders with other states and called for suspension of all domestic and international flights. However, minutes after his announcement, a senior official of aviation regulator DGCA clarified that domestic flights will be operating as usual at the Delhi airport.
Addressing a press conference with Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the chief minister also said, "Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures."
He cited examples of other countries like Italy, Iran and China and stressed upon moving in quickly to lockdown the capital. "Now, in Delhi we have 27 cases. Among these, 6 are those due to local transmission, while the rest are those of people who had returned after traveling abroad. Until now, in Delhi, the stage is still that of local transmission and it has not spread."
Kejriwal further flagged concerns that in the event of a possible stage 3 of the virus, the health infrastructure available may not not be able to cope up. "If we go into a lockdown after more cases are reported, perhaps our hospitals and health infrastructure will not be able to deal with it which could result in many deaths."
"This is the reason why we all have decided that for the sake of everyone's health, for the sake of Delhi and the country, the city will be locked down from March 23, 6 AM March till March 31, 12 PM."
During the lockdown, public transport vehicles including private buses, taxis, autorickshaws, rickshaw, e-rickshaw will not be allowed to ply. The state's bus fleet, run by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) will run at 25 per cent capacity only. Shops, markets, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, godowns, weekly bazaars will also be shut down.
Delhi's borders with its neighbouring cities will be sealed. Only goods vehicles carrying essential items will be allowed. Inter-state buses, trains and metro services will also remain suspended during this lockdown. Construction activities have also been suspended. Religious places will also remain shut.
However, essential services like law enforcing agencies, hospitals and health personnel, fire, prison, ration shops, electricity, water departments, municipal services have been exempted from the lockdown. Print, electronic media, cashiers and tellers in banks, telecom, internet and postal services, food, grocery, pharmaceuticals, milk plants, take-away and home delivery, petrol pumps will remain open.
Kejriwal also announced that the Delhi Assembly will remain open. If anyone is stopped on the road, saying that she/he is going to provide a particular service or meet an essential need, s/he will be trusted.
The chief minister also urged private firms to pay salaries to their employees irrespective of the lockdown. "Private establishments will be shut but it is understood that their employees are at work and therefore private establishments will have to pay the salary of their employees, including permanent and contract', he said.
Seven out of Delhi's 11 revenue districts were part of the list of 80 districts that the central government flagged off for a lockdown.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also announced suspension of its services till March 31.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Kejriwal-led AAP government took a series of measures beginning March 12 when it first closed down cinema halls and schools across the city.
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