Delhi will shut down on weekends from Friday to “break the chain of transmission” as it tackles a steep rise in Covid cases, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today. During the weekend curfew, essential activities like weddings planned already will be allowed with passes.
Auditoriums, restaurants, malls, gyms and spas will be shut down and movie theatres will be allowed with a third of their capacity on weekdays. Eating out is banned and only home deliveries and takeaways are allowed. Weekly markets will continue but with restrictions – one market will be allowed on any day at a given zone.
Calling the wave of new cases deadlier than before, Mr Kejriwal said all gatherings — social, religious or political – stand banned. The number of people at weddings will be limited to 50 and only 20 people will be allowed at funerals.
“These restrictions are for your sake, for you and you families. It will be inconvenient but these restrictions are necessary to break the chain of transmission,” Arvind Kejriwal said in a video address.
He added, “Don’t panic. All essential services will be available through the weekend.”
Mr Kejriwal announced the curbs after meeting with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and top officials earlier today.
Delhi reported 17,282 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday in the highest single-day surge in the capital since the pandemic erupted. The figure makes Delhi the worst-hit city in the second wave of infections raging through the country.
Over 100 deaths were reported yesterday.
Delhi’s rate of people testing positive has climbed to nearly 16 per cent, up from 12.4 percent on Monday.
Before yesterday, the highest single-day spike in Delhi was reported in November — 8,593 cases.
There are 50,736 active cases so far in Delhi.
Across India, Covid cases climbed to a new record of over two lakh infections in 24 hours.
Mr Kejriwal had earlier said a lockdown is not the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus and that it would be enforced only if the “hospital system collapses” in Delhi.
The Delhi government this week linked banquet halls, schools and sports complexes to hospitals to ramp up beds for Covid treatment. Private hospitals have been told to set aside a chunk of beds for virus cases.
Last year, Delhi was under complete lockdown between March 22 and May 18 and after this, the capital reopened in stages.