Delhi Goes Into Lockdown Tonight, Ends Early Monday Morning
Lockdown in Delhi: The city has been witnessing an alarming surge in Covid cases.
Delhi will go into a six-day lockdown from 10 pm tonight to 5 am next Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced today, calling it necessary with the city's resources at a breaking point in an escalating Covid crisis. Only essential services will be allowed.
"If we don't impose a lockdown now, we might face a bigger calamity. The government will take full care of you. We took this tough decision taking the situation into consideration," Arvind Kejriwal said.
"The six-day lockdown will help us arrange more beds and supplies."
Mr Kejriwal said ICU beds were almost over and oxygen levels were critically low in the city. He shared that one private hospital had run out of oxygen at 3 am on Saturday, which could have turned into a disaster.
"We are not trying to scare you...I won't say the health system has collapsed but it is really stressed. There are limits to any system," said the Chief Minister.
He appealed to migrant workers not to leave Delhi during what he called a "small lockdown".
All private offices will go back to Work From Home mode and only government offices and essential services will be open.
Grocers, shops selling food and medicine and newspaper sellers will function. Banks, ATMs, insurance offices will operate. Home deliveries and takeaways will also be allowed.
India this morning reported a record high of 273,810 infections, the fifth consecutive day of more than 200,000 cases.
Delhi is the worst hit city. On Sunday, Delhi recorded the biggest jump in Covid cases -- 25,462 -- and a positivity rate of nearly 30 per cent, which means almost every third sample being tested in the city is turning out positive. A day before, 24,375 Covid cases and 167 deaths were reported in the city. Today, the cases dipped to a little over 23,000 but the situation remains grim with the city reaching what Mr Kejriwal said could be a tipping point.
A weekend curfew was earlier enforced in Delhi to "break the chain of transmission". Continuing violations in parts of the city in the past two days also signaled that harsher steps were needed, officials said.
Mr Kejriwal met with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal before announcing the lockdown.
In the earlier order, auditoriums, restaurants, malls, gyms and spas were shut down in Delhi and movie theatres are allowed only with a third of their capacity. All gatherings -- social, religious or political - were banned. Weddings were limited to 50 participants and funerals, 20. Wedding guests need to show their invitation cards. Those instructions stand.
Mr Kejriwal said migrant workers would be taken care of and should not leave the city, like the previous lockdown when thousands left with their families and belongings for their hometowns, after losing their jobs and homes overnight. "With folded hands, I request you to not leave the city, this is a small lockdown of six days, these days will be wasted in your travel journey only, stay here. The government will take care of you, I am here, believe me," the Chief Minister said.