Delhi lockdown won't be relaxed beyond what Centre permits: Kejriwal

New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) The lockdown in Delhi will not be relaxed beyond what the Union home ministry has suggested in its guidelines, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday and added that his government's focus is on bringing down COVID-19 infections in the city.

Addressing an online media briefing, the chief minister said, 'We are going through difficult times. We will have to continue our efforts to reduce the number of COVID-19 infections in Delhi.' He said his government was implementing the Centre's guidelines on opening of neighbourhood and stand-alone shops during the lockdown till May 3.

No markets and malls will be allowed to open in the national capital and all shops in COVID-19 containment zones will remain shut, the chief minister added.

'The Delhi government will maintain status quo and will not relax lockdown restrictions till May 3, except those permitted by the Union home ministry,' he said.

Kejriwal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the nationwide lockdown would last till May 3, and added that there was a need to see what decision the Union government took on it.

'We will decide our future course of action and set our direction once the Centre takes decision on whether ongoing lockdown be extended or not,' he said.

'If we must follow lockdown rules, we can get rid of coronavirus,' he said.

The chief minister said the novel coronavirus doesn't discriminate between religions.

'We need to work together. Plasma of a Muslim can be used to treat a Hindu patient and vice versa,' he added, referring to plasma therapy to deal with the deadly virus.

Kejriwal said that positive indication has come out from plasma therapy.

The chief minister cited improvement in condition of a critical patient at the LNJP Hospital following plasma therapy.

He appealed to those recovered from COVID-19 to come forward and donate their plasma.

'We all, be it Hindu or Muslim, must be united in this fight against COVID-19. I request everyone not to hate anybody from other religions.

'The person you misbehave with might be the one to come forward some day and donate plasma to save your life,' Kejriwal said.

He said it had been eight weeks since coronavirus cases were reported in Delhi, and asserted that the situation seemed to be gradually improving.

'In the seventh week, 850 new cases were reported, while 21 people died and 260 recovered from the COVID-19.

'But, in the eight week, 622 cases were reported, while nine people died and 580 people recovered from the dreaded virus in the national capital,' the chief minister said.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Delhi stood at 2,625 on Saturday, with 111 new cases and one death being reported in a day.

Till Saturday, there were 95 containment zones in the city. The death toll from COVID-19 is now 54. PTI BUN IJT