Health Services Pushed to Brink, Lockdown May be Extended in Delhi, Say Officials

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As hospitals in Delhi have been consumed by a desperate scramble for oxygen, pushing health services to the brink, the Delhi government will extend the lockdown in the national capital by at least one more week, senior government officials said on Saturday.

An order to extend the lockdown will be issued on Sunday by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), reported Hindustan Times. In such a situation, if the lockdown is lifted, there could be a serious law and order situation, a senior government official privy to the development said.

Earlier this week, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on April 19 announced a six-day lockdown which came in force on April 26 (Monday) and it is now likely to be extended by another week, officials said. Not only the government officials are planning another lockdown but Residents' Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Traders' Associations on Saturday demanded an extension of the restrictions, quoting the high number of daily cases being reported in the Capital.

"We have been demanding that the lockdown should be imposed for at least 14 days. Delhi is reporting at least 25,000 fresh Covid-19 cases every day even as the number of tests is coming down. There is such a crisis for oxygen, in such a situation one cannot even imagine opening up economic activities," said Saurabh Gandhi, general secretary United Residents of Delhi (URD) — a joint forum of RWAs told HT.

In an official statement, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said more than 100 leading associations from across the city have decided to observe the voluntary self-lockdown of Delhi markets from April 26 to May 2.

Along with RWAs, trade leaders of Delhi have opined that opening of markets in the city would be a suicidal step. "In case the markets stay open, and if any trader or any other person gets infected with Covid-19, they will not even be able to get the required medical facilities. Over and above it will be an extra load on the government which is already fighting for the restoration of proper medical facilities with the help of the Central government. So, it has been unanimously decided that it will be appropriate to continue the closure of shops for one more week from Monday," Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of CAIT told the newspaper.

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