Delhi Bans Gatherings And Spectators in Stadiums; Makes RT-PCR Tests Must for Fliers From Maharashtra

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The Delhi government on Saturday issued fresh guidelines to curb the rising cases of coronavirus infections in the national capital. Announcing strict measures, the government prohibited all social, political and religious gatherings and also put restrictions on sports, entertainment and academic events. While allowing stadiums to operate, the government banned the presence of spectators in them. It further directed that all swimming pools are to remain shut and can only be used for training purposes.

The order limited the number of people who can be present at a funeral and a marriage to 20 and 50 respectively. Cinema halls and multiplexes are to function at 50 per cent capacity, it said. Further, the government advised private offices to stagger timings and follow the work from home system if possible.

According to the new guidelines, a negative RT-PCR test report is mandatory for passengers from coming from Maharashtra. There are no restrictions on inter-state movement of people.

Schools in the national capital will remain closed for all classes till further orders due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday. The Delhi government had last week announced that students of any classes will not be called to school in the new academic session. However, class 10 and class 12 students who are due to appear in board exams in May-June were going to school with consent of their parents.

Amid escalating cases of COVID-19 in Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said lockdown is “not an option” but some restrictions will be put in place in the national capital which is reeling under the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The chief minister said this during an interaction with reporters after visiting the LNJP Hospital — the mainstay of Delhi’s fight against COVID-19 — to review its preparedness.

“Lockdown is not an option, however, we will be putting some restrictions in place to contain the spread of the virus. We will release the restrictions in the coming few days. COVID centres are being rebuilt and some have already started functioning,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the chief minister’s office. Kejriwal said the administration and hospitals are working to contain the fourth wave of the pandemic in the city.

Coronavirus cases in Delhi have mounted at a very rapid rate in the last few days, and the number of deaths too have risen. Delhi recorded 7,897 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, while 39 more people died due to the infection, taking the death toll to 11,235, according to the city Health Department. The positivity rate also mounted to 10.21 per cent, breaching the 10 per cent for the first time this year.

The positivity rate mid-November last year had stood above 15 per cent. On Friday, 8,521 cases and 39 deaths were recorded. This was also the first time that over 8,000 cases had been recorded in a day this year amid a massive spike in cases in the span of the last few weeks. The highest single-day spike in Delhi till date — 8,593 cases — was reported on November 11 in 2020, while on November 19, the national capital had recorded 131 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day fatality count till date.

On Thursday, the city had recorded 7,437 cases. On preceding two days, the cases count had stood above 5,000. Delhi had recorded 5,482 cases on November 27 and 6,224 cases on November 24 and 7,486 on November 18, according to official data.

A total of 77,374 tests, including 43,473 RT-PCR tests and 33,901 rapid antigen tests, were conducted a day ago, according to the latest health bulletin. The number of cumulative cases on Saturday stood at 7,14,423.

Over 6.74 lakh patients have recovered from the virus. According to the bulletin, 39 more people died due to the disease, taking the toll to 11,235.

The number of active cases rose to 28,773 from 26,631 a day before. The number of people under home isolation increased to 15,266 from 13,188 on Friday, while the number of containment zones mounted to 5,236 on Saturday from 4,768 a day before, the bulletin said.

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