New Delhi: Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday that the Covid situation in Delhi is "critical" and announced a six-day lockdown in the national capital from 10 pm Monday to 5 am next Monday. Mr Kejriwal said the move was necessary as rising Covid cases have severely strained the city's resources and its health system is at a tipping point. He said that the government will use this time to ramp up medical facilities in the city and appealed to migrants not to leave, saying, "Government will take care of you".
All essential services will be allowed during the lockdown, but private offices and other establishments like shops, malls, weekly markets, manufacturing units, educational and coaching institutes, cinema halls, restaurants, bars, assembly halls, auditoriums, public parks, sport complexes, gyms, spas, barber shops, saloons and beauty parlours will remain closed.
All e-passes obtained for movement connected to essential goods and services during night curfew and weekend curfew will be valid for the six-day restrictions.
During the lockdown, pregnant women and patients going for medical services along with an attendant will be allowed on production of valid I-card or doctor's prescription or medical papers. People who are going for Covid-19 testing or vaccination are also exempted on the production of a valid I-card.
Those going to airports, railway stations, ISBT have been allowed movement, but they will have to show a valid ticket. Electronic and print mediapersons have been exempted from the restrictions.
The Delhi government on Monday also issued a circular advancing the summer vacation in all city schools as the national capital fights a massive battle against coronavirus. The vacation, earlier scheduled from May 11 to June 3, will now begin from Tuesday (tomorrow) and schools will remain shut till June 9, the order said.
"Delhi's health system is at a breaking point. I will not say it has collapsed but the Covid situation is pretty critical," Mr Kejriwal said while addressing an online press conference.
"I have always been against a lockdown. I believe the lockdown will not finish the virus, but it will reduce the transmission rate. It will give us time to boost our infrastructure. We will use this week-long lockdown to improve our healthcare... I appeal to people to completely follow the lockdown. We will together overcome this fourth phase of Covid-19 as we did in the earlier three waves," he added.
Addressing migrant workers, Mr Kejriwal said, "I appeal to you with folded hands. It's a small lockdown, only for six days. Don't leave Delhi and go. I'm very hopeful that we won't need to further extend the lockdown... Govt will take care of you."
Delhi is the worst-hit city in India with 25,500 fresh cases on Sunday and almost one-third of those tested returning positive. In the last 24 hours, the number of cases remained high despite a dip -- 23,500.
In its order, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said that movement of people will be allowed for marriage related gatherings and up to 50 people will be permitted to attend a wedding, but they will have to show a soft or hard copy of the wedding card. Twenty people will be allowed to attend funerals.
The DDMA also said that swimming pools (except those being used for training of sportspersons for participation in national and international events), construction activities (except where labourers are residing onsite) will also remain shut.
Stadia will be permitted to remain open for organising national and international sports events without spectators, said chief secretary Vijay Dev, who is also the chairperson of the DDMA's executive committee.
It stated that public transport such as Metros and buses with their 50 per cent capacity will be allowed to run. In taxis not more than two people will be allowed.