COVID-19: Night curfew in Delhi till Apr 30; highest single-day spike of 5,100 COVID-19 cases

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New Delhi, Apr 6 (PTI) The Delhi government on Tuesday announced seven hours of night curfew for this entire month as COVID-19 cases continued to rise with 5,100 fresh cases and 17 deaths being reported in 24 hours, even as the AAP dispensation ruled out any plans for a lockdown, saying it is exploring other alternatives.

The emergency measure for the 'wellbeing and safety' of people was decided after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) reviewed the coronavirus situation in the city. The DDMA order for curfew from 10 pm to 5 am will continue till April 30.

According to the health bulletin, 5,100 new COVID-19 cases were reported in last 24 hours, the highest this year, and 17 deaths. The death toll stands at 11,113.

'The Delhi government is exploring all options and ideas. Night curfew has a role to check the spread of coronavirus... but the government is not completely dependent on it,' Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said during a press conference.

'We are not considering enforcing a lockdown. I believe we can check the spread through other alternatives,' he said.

Health Minister Satyender Jain said the government is alert about the pandemic situation here and keeping a 'close watch' on it.

'So far this year, there has been only one day when the positivity rate had been more than 5 per cent. The trend needs to be monitored, and we are keeping a close watch on it. Currently, the positivity rate has crossed the 5 per cent-mark for the entire country. However, in Delhi, we are completely alert and are being cautious,' Jain said.

Those exempted from the night curfew include pregnant women, patients, those travelling to and from airports, railway stations, state bus terminus on showing tickets, officials related to the functioning of offices of diplomats, and those holding any constitutional post on the production of valid identity card.

Central and Delhi government officials involved in emergency services such as health and family welfare and all related medical establishments, police, prisons, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services will also be exempted Officials of district administration, pay and accounts office, electricity, water and sanitation, public transport, disaster management and related services, NIC, NCC and municipal services, and all other essential services will also be exempted from the night curfew on the production of a valid identity card.

Private medical personnel such as doctors, nursing staff, paramedical, and other hospital services, diagnostic centres, clinics, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and other medical and health services will be exempted, the order stated.

Movement of persons related to commercial and private establishments, including grocery, fruits and vegetable shops, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder, medical equipment shops, banks, insurance offices and ATMs, private security agencies, mediapersons, telecom and Internet services, information technology and IT-enabled services, e-commerce of essential services, will be allowed on production of an e-pass.

Employees of petrol pumps, LPG, CNG, petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets, power generation, transmission and distribution units, cold storage and warehousing services, manufacturing units of essential commodities will be exempted on carrying an e-pass.

Public transport such as Delhi Metro, DTC and cluster buses, autos and taxis will be allowed to ply within the stipulated time for transportation of only exempted categories of people during the night curfew, said the order.

However, there will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state transportation of essential and non-essential goods. No separate permission or e-pass will be required for such movements, it said.

All district magistrates and deputy commissioners of police, as well as authorities concerned, will ensure strict compliance with the DDMA order. Enforcement authorities are required to note that these restrictions fundamentally relate to the movement of people, and not to that of essential goods and services, the order stated, adding violation of curfew restrictions will be dealt with under the relevant section of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and Section 188 of the IPC and other applicable laws.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also advised commuters, who do not fall under essential category, to complete their journey before 10 pm in view of the night curfew.

'In view of the imposition of night curfew in Delhi starting tonight, entry in Metro from 10pm to 5am will be allowed only to those passengers who fall in essential category as per government order, after verification of their valid IDs by DMRC and CISF personnel,' DMRC said in a statement.

'DMRC also advises its users, who do not fall in essential category, to complete journey and reach there destination by 10 pm as they are not allowed to travel after 10 pm to 5 am in night in the Metro as per government order till April 21 or further orders whichever is earlier,' it added. PTI VIT GVS KND AMP GJS GJS AAR AAR