Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday a weekend curfew to curb a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases in the national capital, imposing several restrictions for 56 hours every week. The weekend curfew will break the Covid-19 chain in Delhi, Kejriwal said in a video address. “These curbs are for your safety. We will beat this fourth Covid wave with your help.” He also said there is no shortage of hospital beds in Delhi and over 5,000 are still available for COVID patients.
The curfew will begin at 10pm on Friday and continue till 6am on Monday, while essential services will be exempted from the curbs. According to the new directives, shopping malls, gyms, spas, auditoriums, assembly halls, entertainment parks and similar public places will be shut. While cinemas and theatres have been allowed to operate on 30% capacity, restaurants and other eateries will only provide take-away and home delivery services.
Regarding weekly markets, the Delhi government order has specified that only one weekly market will be allowed in every municipal zone per week with strict compliance to Covid-19 SOPs. Strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour such as social distancing and mask-wearing in public places will be ensured.
The government scaled down the occupancy of restaurants and cinema halls to 50 per cent of their seating capacity last week in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Kejriwal said the number of cases is rising every day in Delhi and the restrictions were needed to check the spread of the virus.
During curfew hours, government officers, health workers, security personnel, etc will be allowed to move with proper identification proofs. Pregnant women and patients will also be allowed to move in curfew. The notice said there shall be no restriction on inter-state movement and transportation of essential/non-essential goods.
Apart from that, people working in shops dealing with food and groceries, dairy, banks, insurance services, pharmacy, petrol pumps, power generations, etc will be allowed to move.
There will be no ban during weekend curfew on marriage functions, where only 20 people will be allowed and funerals, with gathering not exceeding 20 people.
The chief minister said he expects the support of people in implementing the restrictions, adding that the government will tide over the fourth wave of COVID-19 with the help of the citizens as it did earlier.
Delhi recorded the biggest single-day jump in its COVID-19 tally on Wednesday with 17,282 new cases, while 104 more people died due to the disease.
Amid a massive surge in cases, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in the national capital issued an order on Wednesday to ramp up the number of beds reserved for COVID patients at its hospitals and attach banquet halls and hotels to these facilities.