Lockdown in Delhi extended by another week as COVID-19 cases surge

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New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced extension of the ongoing lockdown in Delhi for another week, saying the severity of COVID-19 is unabated and positivity rate has been as high as 36 per cent in the last few days.

The lockdown imposed on April 19 night will now continue till 5 AM on May 3, he said. Before extension, it was scheduled to end at 5 AM on April 26.

'We will have to watch the situation for a few more days whether the cases decrease or increase,' he said.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in an order for extension of the lockdown allowed services of courier outlets, electricians and plumbers, repair of water purifiers, and shops shelling books and electric fans.

The chief minister said the onslaught of the coronavirus has not subsided even as the government had imposed six-day lockdown as a last weapon in its arsenal. 'The public opinion is for extension of lockdown. The positivity rate reached up to 36-37 per cent in past few days although it has slightly dipped now. It is around 29 per cent today,' he said. To keep a watch on oxygen availability, the Delhi government has decided that the manufacturers, suppliers and hospitals will update supply and consumption data every two hours on a portal set up by it.

'This is to ensure that the Delhi government knows where shortage might be felt and is able to divert resources in that direction in time.” He said the Centre has further increased Delhi's oxygen quota by 10 MT per day and hoped the chaotic situation due to oxygen crisis in Delhi will end in a few days.

'The Centre has increased Delhi's quota from 480 MT to 490 MT per day. But, we are yet to receive full quota. Currently only 330-335 tonnes per day supply is being received by us,' he said. The chief minister said his government is receiving much support from the Centre and both are properly coordinating to solve the oxygen supply problem. Kejriwal who had wrote letters to Chief Ministers of states for helping Delhi with spare oxygen and tankers, said, 'Negotiations have begun with some states and I will update you about any positive results as and when they come.' Noting that ministers and officers of his government were working overnight to ensure steady oxygen supplies to the hospitals, he said, 'I do not claim that all our efforts have reaped successful results. In some cases, we have failed, and in some others we have managed to ensure oxygen supply to its destination.' Delhi recorded the highest single-day rise in its COVID-19 deaths with 357 more people succumbing to the viral disease on Saturday as well as over 24,000 fresh cases.

The city has reported nearly 2,500 deaths due to the deadly virus in a 12-day period.

Several hospitals in the national capital are grappling with severe shortage of medical oxygen.

The DDMA in its order on Sunday stated that the situation of COVID-19 in Delhi has again been reviewed and it is observed that positive cases as well as positivity rate is still very high.

'....therefore, in order to contain the spread of virus and to further break the transmission chain, curfew needs to be extended for a further period of one week in Delhi (except for essential activities and services), as an emergency measure.' In the order, Chief Secretary and DDMA executive committee chairman Vijay Dev directed extension of curfew (lockdown) the on movement of individuals, except for essential activities and services, in Delhi till 5 am on May 3 or further orders whichever is earlier. There will be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of all types of goods, cargo and empty trucks including those for cross border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries, added the order. PTI VIT/GJS SMN SMN