Delhi announces curbs on social, religious, sports, political, cultural, academic activities

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Restaurants, bars are allowed up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity

A workers carries out sanitization at New Delhi Railway Station, amid rise in coronavirus cases, in New Delhi. (PTI)

New Delhi/Mumbai: In view of rising Covid-19 cases, Delhi government Saturday announced a slew of curbs on social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious activities, while Maharashtra seemed all set for a harsher and longer lockdown, the date and time for which is yet to be finalised.

An order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) prohibited all types of gatherings, reduced the size of weddings and funerals, cut seating in public transport and restaurants to half and scaled down presence in government offices. It, however, allowed students of class IX-XII to be called to schools for guidance by teachers. Except this, all Delhi government and private schools will remain closed till April 30, the order said.

Funerals will be allowed to be attended by 20 persons only while gatherings for marriages will have an upper limit of 50 persons.

Restaurants and bars are allowed up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity, stated the order.

The Delhi Metro will run at 50 per cent of coach capacity. The DTC and Cluster buses too will run at half their capacity, stipulated the order.

A negative RT-PCR report, not older than 72 hours prior to undertaking a journey, will be compulsory for persons arriving from Maharashtra to Delhi by air. Those found without a negative report will have to remain quarantined for 14 days, the order said. 

Delhi on Saturday had 7,897 new Covid-19 cases and 39 deaths. The city’s positivity rate is over 10 per cent. In order to meet the increased demand for manpower during the ongoing pandemic, the Delhi government has directed hospitals to engage 4th and 5th year MBBS students, interns and BDS doctors.

In Maharashtra, during the all-party meeting called by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday, it was decided that a lockdown of minimum one week and maximum 15 days can be imposed in the state to break the chain of transmission of novel coronavirus. However, a final decision in this regard will be taken in a couple of days after consulting health experts. 

The Centre too is yet to give its nod for such a plan as the Union government had suggested that states go for “micro-level” lockdowns instead of shutting down the entire state. Mr Thackeray said lockdown is the only option given the high volume of cases and difficulty in contact tracing.

“Last year during lockdown people were at home so it was not difficult to trace the infection. Since everything is open now, it is practically very difficult to trace people. The Centre must understand this. I have been speaking to many people from different sectors, even private hospitals for the last few days. All are ready to support the government,” Mr Thackeray said.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 55,411 fresh Covid-19 positive cases with 309 deaths. Out of this, Mumbai had 9,327 new cases and 50 deaths.

In a new high, India reported over 1.45 lakh fresh cases of novel coronavirus with 794 deaths in 24 hours on Saturday. Among the latest to catch infection in Maharashtra is RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. The rising cases have put substantial pressure on the health infrastructure of the country with several states reporting shortage of Remdesivir, Oxygen and hospital beds. As state governments scramble to test and treat Covid patients, there were also reports of shortage of RT-PCR kits in some places.

In a crackdown on black-marketeers and hoarders, Maharashtra on Saturday arrested four persons for selling 40 Remdesivir injections in black market from Pimpri Chhindwara. Police are probing the presence of other gangs that might be operating in different hospitals. In Thane, the crime branch recovered 21 Remdesivir injections and arrested two persons.

In Madhya Pradesh, oxygen demand has gone up by 60 per cent and the state has set up a committee to audit oxygen availability in hospitals. In Indore, the lockdown has been extended from Monday to Friday.

In Tamil Nadu, beaches in Chennai, Chengalpattu and Thiruvallur districts will remain closed to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and on holidays from April 11. However, religious places in these three districts will remain open for devotees till 10 pm.

Meanwhile, chief ministers of Congress governed states held a meeting with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the Covid-19 situation.