New Delhi: The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has decided against a widespread lockdown in the capital amid rising COVID-19 cases, but said some additional restrictions could be brought in without causing any “harm” to the public. According to sources, dining facilities in restaurants are likely to be restricted in the coming days, but takeaways will be allowed.
The decision not to impose lockdown was taken in the DDMA meeting on Monday. A senior official said, “Everyone present in the DDMA meeting agreed that the trend of increasing positivity, hospitalization and deaths was worrying. Further restrictions are likely to be put in place to mitigate these trends, without harming people. There will be no lockdown.
The DDMA, which reviewed the latest situation on Monday and held extensive discussions with experts, ultimately decided to opt for some additional restrictions and not the lockdown. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal chaired the DDMA meeting, which was attended by CM Kejriwal, ministers, top officials and experts.
At a briefing on Sunday, Kejriwal said there would be no need for a widespread lockdown if everyone wore a mask. The Delhi CM said, “We do not want to lockdown nor do we plan to do so. We want the ripple to be at least as low. We don’t want to hinder anyone’s livelihood.
Authorities have imposed curfews on weekends and nights, and have advised privately run offices to ensure that at least 50% of their employees are working from home. All Delhi government employees have been asked to work from home, except those engaged in essential and emergency services like fire brigade services, prisons, water supply and health.
Shops inside malls and in markets operate on odd-even basis between 10 am and 8 pm.
Currently, dining services in restaurants and bars are capped at 50% seating capacity on weekdays, and only takeaways are allowed during weekends. On weekdays, a weekly market is allowed to open in an area, while local authorities have been asked to take steps to ensure crowd management. Only 20 people are allowed to attend weddings and funerals.
The DDMA also discussed the seating capacity of Delhi Metro trains and buses. At present, 100% seating is allowed in metro and buses. DDMA discussed whether the seating capacity should be reduced by 50%.
It was also discussed that the economic and travel restrictions imposed in Delhi should also cover the National Capital Region (NCR) to prevent a massive increase in COVID-19 cases.
Experts supported the DDMA’s decision. Dr Jugal Kishor, head of the Department of Community Medicine at Safdarjung Hospital, said there may be no further gains from the harsher restrictions, as the existing restrictions, including the weekend curfew, are already designed to restrict the movement of individuals and it seems that have helped slow the spread of the disease.
Dr Kishor said, “The poor need work and food. Health services are also affected due to curfew, which can have an impact on the overall health condition of the people.
Traders had earlier appealed to DDMA not to impose further restrictions. Chamber of Trade and Industry had written to DDMA requesting that no additional restrictions or lockdown be imposed.
first published:Jan. 10, 2022, 3:19 p.m.