NEW DELHI: Staggered work hours, frequent testing and monitoring of COVID appropriate behaviour will mark resumption of manufacturing and construction activities as Delhi reopens partially from Monday.
The workers and employees allowed at manufacturing units and construction sites will be required to carry e-passes for movement during the ongoing lockdown that has been extended to June 7 by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA).
From Monday, operations of manufacturing units within closed premises in approved industrial areas, and construction activities within work sites have been allowed, said a DDMA order issued on Saturday.
In a meeting of DDMA on Friday attended by Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, a decision was taken to continue all other restrictions but allow reopening of factories and construction sites.
The DDMA order said only asymptomatic workers and employees will be allowed at workplace.
All district magistrates will ensure random RT-PCR/RAT testing in sufficient numbers at these manufacturing units and construction sites on a regular basis, it said.
“Staggering of work hours will be followed at workplace in order to ensure proper social distancing among workers, adequate gaps between shifts, and staggered lunch breaks of staff,” a DDMA order said.
COVID appropriate behaviour will be strictly followed by all workers and employees.
Provision of thermal screening, use of hand wash and sanitizers preferably with touch free mechanism will be arranged at all entry and exist points and common areas of the workplace.
The district magistrates and their counterpart district DCPs will deploy special teams for regular inspection of these manufacturing units as well as construction sites for ensuring effective compliance of COVID appropriate behaviour by all workers and employees, stated the order.
Frequent sanitization of entire work place, common facilities and all points which come into human contact like door handles will be ensured, including between shifts.
The owners of manufacturing units, and contractors of construction activities will be responsible for strict compliance of precaution measures.
The order stated COVID-19 scenario in Delhi has again been reviewed and observed that, though the number of patients and positivity rate is declining, the situation is still “precarious”.
“Therefore, in order to contain the spread of virus and to further break the transmission chain, curfew needs to be extended for another week in the territory of NCT of Delhi (except for essential activities/services), permitting reopening of certain prohibited activities in a phased manner in areas outside the containment zones,” it said.
The lockdown has been extended till 5 am on June 7 or further orders whichever is earlier, stated the DDMA order.
The lockdown imposed in Delhi on April 19 due to surging second wave of COVID 19, has been extended for the fifth time.
It was scheduled to conclude at 5 am on May 31.
Meanwhile, AAP trade wing convenor Brijesh Goyal alleged that the Delhi government proposed reopening of markets, but the request was turned down by LG and DDMA Chairman Anil Baijal, a claim termed “baseless, false and misleading” by senior sources present in the meeting.
Addressing a press conference, Chamber of Trade and Industry (CTI) chairperson Goyal claimed Baijal wasn’t convinced about the idea of resuming market operations, but industries and construction were permitted to reopen.
“The Delhi government proposed reopening of markets, but the request was turned down by LG and Delhi Disaster Management Authority Chairman Anil Baijal,” he claimed.
He further said the BJP must not spread lies on social media that it was the Delhi government which did not allow markets to reopen as it was the LG who didn’t sanction it.
“If the BJP leaders are indeed concerned about marketers, they must request the LG to allow reopening of markets and ask him to call for a DDMA meeting,” said Goyal.
He further said that the Delhi government will do everything that it can to seek permission for reopening of markets.
Reacting to it, a senior source who was present at the meeting said, “The statement is baseless, false and misleading. Leave aside proposing or discussing in the DDMA meeting, the matter of markets was not even there on its agenda.”
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said Delhi has somehow gained control over the second wave of COVID-19 and the government will now start the process of lifting the lockdown gradually, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for one week from Monday.
A delegation of Delhi Congress leaders on Saturday submitted a memorandum to Lt Governor Anil Baijal demanding financial package for traders and shopkeepers, and reopening of markets as the process of gradually lifting the lockdown in the city is set begin from Monday.
The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) said in a statement that the Delhi government’s decision to allow resumption of construction activities and industrial production “was a pointless, half-baked and half-hearted exercise to bluff the people”.
“Even if production starts in the factories, how will they procure raw material when shops are shut and where will they sell their products with the markets and shops shut?” DPCC president Anil Kumar said.
The DPCC submitted an 11-point memorandum to the LG, “to revive the trading and retail activity in markets”.
Addressing traders’ concerns, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Saturday that when the situation will ease, everything will be opened up.
“I can understand the troubles of the traders and I can understand their anxiety. I read in the newspapers that they are a bit upset. I want to tell them that it was with great difficulty that we were able to control the situation by imposing a lockdown.”
“I can understand their difficulty but they should be patient and should not rush. We also want their markets and shops to open up and as and when the situation comes under control, we will open up everything,” he said.
The national capital on Saturday recorded 956 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest in over two months, and 122 more fatalities from the infection while the positivity rate slumped to 1.19 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here.
This is the first time the cases count has gone below the 1,000-mark since March 22 when the tally was 888.
On March 21, 823 cases were recorded.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that about 900 cases in a day have emerged after a long time and “I hope that as and when the cases decrease in the upcoming weeks, we will continue to unlock further. We want the economic activities to come back on track so that the economy can be revived”.
According to the latest health bulletin, 956 fresh cases and 122 fatalities were reported on Saturday, pushing the death toll in the city to 24,073.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain tweeted and shared the health bulletin on Saturday, and emphasised that the daily cases had dropped below the 1,000-mark again, even as he appealed to people to continue to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
On Thursday, 1,072 cases and 117 deaths were recorded, while the positivity rate had dipped to 1.53 per cent, and on Friday, 1,141 cases and 139 fatalities were reported, while the positivity rate had stood at 1.59 per cent.
The infection rate, which had reached 36 per cent in the last week of April, has come down to 1.19 per cent now.
On May 15, Kejriwal had said, “The virus is reducing in Delhi slowly and steadily, and I hope it diminishes completely and does not rise again.
However, we are not going to become negligent in anyway”, while sounding a tone of caution.
On Friday, he said it was time to start the unlock process, but warned that if coronavirus cases start rising again “we will have to stop the unlock exercise”, and appealed to people not to step out unless it is absolutely necessary.
Delhi has been reeling under a brutal second wave of the pandemic that is sweeping the country, claiming a massive number of lives daily, with the recent oxygen supply shortage issue at various hospitals adding to the woes.
Since April 19, both daily cases and single-day deaths count had been spiralling up, with over 28,000 cases and 277 deaths recorded on April 20; rising to 306 fatalities on April 22.
On May 2, the city registered a record 407 deaths, according to the official data.
However, the number of cases have shown a downward trend and the positivity rate too has been shrinking in the last several days.
The number of deaths reported on Thursday — 117 — was the lowest since April 15 when the national capital had registered 112 fatalities, while the positivity rate (1.52 per cent) was the lowest since March 23, when it had stood at 1.31 per cent, the official data stated.
Delhi had recorded 1,491 cases and 130 fatalities on Wednesday, 1,568 cases and 156 deaths on Tuesday, 1,550 cases and 207 fatalities on Monday.
The positivity rate on Monday was 2.52 per cent, which has come down to 1.59 per cent on Friday.
A total of 80,473 tests, including 56,559 RT-PCR tests and 23,914 rapid antigen tests, were conducted a day ago, according to the health bulletin on Saturday.
The number of cumulative cases on Saturday stood at 14,24,646.
Over 13.8 lakh patients have recovered from the virus.
The number of active cases decreased to 13,035 on Saturday from 14,581 a day before, the bulletin said.
The number of people under home isolation dipped to 6,303 from 7,111 on Friday while the number of containment zones dropped to 20,805 from 22,701 a day before, it said.