Delhi CM announces extension of lockdown till May 10

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New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced an extension of the ongoing lockdown in Delhi by another week on Saturday amid a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases as the national capital battles an acute shortage of beds and medical oxygen in its hospitals.

'Lockdown in Delhi is being extended by one week,' Kejriwal said in a tweet.

The lockdown that was scheduled to be in force till 5 am on Monday now stands extended by another week till May 10.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), in its order on the extension of the lockdown, stated that a review of the pandemic situation showed that the numbers of positive cases, positivity rate as well as bed occupancy (oxygen-supported or ICU beds) in the dedicated COVID-19 hospitals are very high.

'...therefore, in order to contain the spread of the virus and break the transmission chain, the curfew needs to be extended for another week in the territory of NCT of Delhi (except for essential activities and services),' it said.

In view of the spiralling number of fresh COVID cases and a high positivity rate, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government imposed the lockdown in Delhi on April 19. It was subsequently extended by a week on April 25.

The DDMA has directed to extend the curfew (lockdown) on the movement of individuals (except for essential activities and services) till 5 am on May 10 or further orders, whichever is earlier.

The COVID situation in the national capital is extremely grim as the festering crisis due to the shortage of oxygen claimed 12 lives in the Batra hospital on Saturday, even as the Centre and the city government are involved in a blame game.

The number of fresh COVID cases is still soaring, despite the lockdown.

The number of positive cases in a 24-hour period stood at over 27,000 with a positivity rate of 32.69 per cent and 375 deaths, according to the Delhi government's health bulletin on Friday.

'We will have to watch the situation for a few more days whether the number of cases decreases or increases,' Kejriwal had said on the first extension of the lockdown.

Chamber of Trade and Industry chairman Brijesh Goyal said 65 per cent of the traders are in favour of an extension of the lockdown.

Community platform LocalCircles said 75 per cent respondents in a survey conducted by it in the national capital favoured extending the lockdown.

Many believe that till Delhi goes back to a daily caseload of 10,000 and a test positivity rate of less than 10 per cent, the lockdown would be needed, LocalCircles chairman Sachin Taparia said. PTI VIT BUN RC