Delhi lockdown until March 31; CM cites ‘extraordinary times’

Coronavirus cases, Delhi lockdown, Arvind Kejriwal, delhi news, indian express news

“They say extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. The whole world is battling the virus... We are lucky it reached our country a little later," said Kejriwal. (File photo)

Delhi will be on lockdown between 6 am Monday and March 31 to arrest the spread of coronavirus. Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad will also suspend all but essential services.

In a press conference jointly addressed by him and L-G Anil Baijal, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the measures necessary. “They say extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. The whole world is battling the virus... We are lucky it reached our country a little later. There is not a lot of research on the coronavirus but we can learn from a lot of other countries — both that took timely measures and those that didn’t,” he said.

Kejriwal also said the health infrastructure might get overwhelmed if the number of cases shoots up. “There are 27 cases in Delhi so far. Of these, 21 are those who came from abroad and got sick. Six are cases of local transmission. If we suddenly get 1,000 or 1,500 cases, the lockdown will not be effective. The existing health infrastructure might not be able to deal with it,” he said.

Essential services will remain operational. This includes law and order, magisterial duties, hospitals, banks, media, grocery and vegetable stores, takeaway services, e-commerce websites and pharmacists. Public transport, including private cabs such as Ola and Uber, the Metro, religious places, international flights and construction are suspended. DTC buses will work at 25% capacity.

State borders will be sealed, allowing only those involved in essential services, to cross over. The assembly of more than five people has been outlawed.

“The less you go out, the safer you are. Stay in, unless it is very important, like for buying milk or food. Anyone out on the roads who says they are providing an essential service or out to get food will be trusted,” Kejriwal said. Establishments that violate the orders will be prosecuted.

The CM also said that all private establishments will have to pay full salaries for permanent and contractual employees.

“If we are able to save even 10 lives through these measures, I think taking these measures will be worth it,” he said.

Meanwhile, three more people tested positive for coronavirus in Delhi, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 30.

One is a 30-year-old man who was in contact with the 38-year-old woman from Dilshad Garden who tested positive Wednesday. The other two positive cases are a 58-year-old man from North Delhi and a 21-year-old man who lives in Ghitorni. He tested positive in Gurgaon Saturday.

The Delhi government has found that around 35,000 people with a travel history to foreign countries are in the city at present. The government has asked district magistrates to undertake a thorough verification and carry out surveillance to ensure that they remain in home quarantine for 14 days.