New Delhi: The national capital went under lockdown from 6am on Monday to contain the spread of the new coronavirus after six locally transmitted cases surfaced in the city. Exhorting Delhiites to make the lockdown a ‘success’, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reminded residents of previous ‘successful’ efforts to fight air pollution with odd-even scheme.
Taking to Twitter, Kejriwal said in Hindi, “Lockdown begins from today in Delhi. You did odd-even at personal cost and fought dengue. I am assured Delhiites will cooperate with the lockdown to keep their families safe from COVID-19.”
आज से दिल्ली में लॉकडाउन शुरू। मेरे दिल्लीवासियों, आपने व्यक्तिगत परेशानी उठाकर पल्यूशन को हराने के लिए Odd Even कर दिखाया। आपने डेंगू के खिलाफ महा अभियान को अपनाया। मुझे विश्वास है Covid-19 से अपने परिवार को बचाने के लिए आप लॉकडाउन में भी अपना सहयोग दे कर इस लड़ाई को जीतेंगे।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 23, 2020
The lockdown will continue till midnight on March 31.
Addressing a press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal on Sunday, Kejriwal had said that no public transport will operate and Delhi's borders will remain sealed during the lockdown, but the essential services related to health, food, water and power supply will continue. He, however, said that 25 percent of the DTC buses will run to transport people associated with essential services.
Dairies, milk plants, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps, ATMs, e-commerce services of essential items like food and medicines will remain open, he said. "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Delhi will be under lockdown from tomorrow 6 am until March 31. Certain exceptions have been made to ensure essential items are available for purchase and basic services continue to operate," he tweeted after the press conference.
At the press conference, Kejriwal said of the total 27 cases reported in Delhi, six were locally transmitted from one person to another while 21 contracted it abroad. The six cases are those who were in contact with people who returned from COVID-19 hit countries, he added.
"The way this virus has spread across the country, especially in Italy, Iran and China, whose examples are before us. We have examples of countries which have dealt effectively that clearly shows that the sooner its (coronavirus) spread is checked, the better.
"We know people will face difficulties, but lockdown is necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus," he said.
Delhi government has issued the Delhi Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulations 2020 under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 for preventive and containment of the virus.
The Health and Family Welfare department of Delhi government issued a detailed order notifying the lockdown in whole of the national capital, stipulating various restrictions.
The restrictions include no operation of public transport including private buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws. All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices weekly bazars will be closed.
The order stated all motorable and non-motorable borders of Delhi with Haryana and UP will be sealed. Movement of inter-state buses trains and Delhi Metro trains will be closed. All domestic/international flights arriving in Delhi during this period will be suspended," stated the order.
Construction activities and all religious places will also be shut.
The essential services excluded from restrictions include law and order and magisterial duty, police, health, fire, prisons, fair price shops, electricity, water, municipal services, print and electronic media, teller operations including ATMs, food items, groceries, general provision stores, take-away delivery in restaurants, petrol pumps, LPG cylinder agencies, e-commerce of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
Gathering of more than five people will not be allowed and strict action will be taken if anybody violates the lockdown. "People coming out of their homes for essential things will not be asked anything and they will be trusted for which they would be coming out."
The private sector will have to pay salaries to their employees during the lockdown. The companies will not deduct salaries, the CM assured.
Compliance of the order will be ensured by authorities including additional chief secretary(transport) Delhi government, the chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Council, the chairperson of Airport Authority of India and the Delhi Police Commissioner.