Delhi unlock process to begin from May 31; factories, construction activities allowed for one week

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New Delhi, May 28 (PTI) The process of lifting the lockdown gradually in the capital will begin from Monday, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for a week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday.

The phase-wise unlocking process in Delhi will begin after over six weeks of lockdown enforced in view of the second wave of COVID-19.

Noting that Delhi somehow gained control over the second wave of COVID-19 with the positivity rate coming down to 1.5 per cent, the chief minister said the fight against the deadly disease has not ended yet.

Kejriwal also stressed that if cases start rising again, the unlock process will have to be stopped.

The chief minister said it is time to start the unlock process. However, he cautioned that it should not be the case that people escape coronavirus but die of hunger.

'We have to maintain a balance between controlling the spread of COVID-19 and allowing economic activities,' Kejriwal said during an online press briefing. 'At a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday, it was decided that the lockdown be lifted gradually. In this process, we have to take care of the lowest strata first ... daily wagers, labourers, migrant workers who come to Delhi from far off areas in search of livelihood.

'Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to open factories and allow construction activities for one week from Monday,' he said, adding that the government will continue the unlock process every week based on the opinion of experts and the public. However, if the cases start rising again, we will have to stop the unlock exercise, he added, and appealed to the people to not step out unless it is absolutely necessary.

In the last 24 hours, Delhi reported a positivity rate of around 1.5 per cent and around 11,00 new cases, the chief minister said.

The chief minister had announced a lockdown in Delhi on April 19, after the city recorded over one lakh cases in the previous five days.

Thereafter, the government kept extending the restrictions every week, hoping to break the chain of infection as hospitals reeled under a massive surge of cases and shortage of oxygen and essential drugs. 'The number of cases and the positivity rate has declined gradually. There is no difficulty in getting beds, oxygen and ICU beds are also available in good numbers. But the fight against the virus hasn't ended,' Kejriwal said.

So, whatever gains Delhi has been made in the one-and-a-half month of lockdown, it cannot be squandered by lifting the restrictions in one go, he added.

On Thursday, Delhi recorded 117 COVID-19 fatalities, the lowest since April 15, and 1,072 cases, while the positivity rate dipped to a nearly two-month low of 1.53 per cent, according to the health bulletin.

It was the fifth day in a row when the daily cases in Delhi have remained below 2,000 and the second consecutive day when the cases were below 1,500. PTI GVS/GJS GJS TDS TDS

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