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Northern States step up the Covid combat

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani KR Srivats New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2021

Delhi announces weekend curfew; Haryana and Punjab put in place stricter measures

 

Faced with a sharp surge in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi government on Thursday swung into action to impose additional restrictions and weekend curfew. However, certain essential services/activities have been exempted from the curbs.

Delhi on Thursday reported new Covid-19 cases of 16,699 in last 24 hours. This was lower than 17,282 reported on Wednesday for the previous 24 hours.

Also read: Over 2 lakh fresh Covid-19 cases in India, 1,038 new fatalities

Announcing the new restrictions and the weekend curfew, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that decisions were taken after a meeting with Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal. Besides the curfew on movement of people from Friday 10 pm to Monday 9 am, the other curbs include closure of all shopping malls, gymnasiums, spas, auditoriums, assembly halls, and entertainment parks till April 30.

Also read: After surging cases comes the infra shiver

Also, cinemas/theatres/multiplexes will be permitted to operate at 30 per cent capacity till April 30. Only one weekly market per zone in the three Municipal Corporations, New Delhi Municipal Council, and Delhi Cantonment Board areas will be allowed, according to the order issued by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority.

Inter-State movement

However, several exemptions have been allowed during the weekend curfew including movement of government officials, officers of Delhi courts, medical personnel, and travellers coming from/going to railway stations, airports and bus terminals, on the production of valid tickets. There will be no restriction on intra/inter-State movement of essential/non-essential goods. No separate e-pass will be required for such transportation. Kejriwal said that all scheduled weddings can go on with curfew passes. Restaurants can offer only deliveries, he said.

The Chief minister said that more than 5,000 beds are available and the government is taking steps to increase the number of ‘oxygen beds’. People must cooperate and not insist on specific hospitals for treatment, he said.

Reacting to the imposition of curbs, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “Malls are becoming the unfortunate victims as State governments are taking more of politically-driven, rather than logical, decisions. The template followed by Maharashtra has had a snowballing effect on other State government’s decisions. Malls are best equipped in implementing safety protocols but State governments are shutting them down first and it will have a crippling effect on the organised retail industry. We need a coordinated effort across the country to curb the rising cases rather than imposing State or local level restrictions.”

Kabir Suri, Vice-President, National Restaurant Association of India, said, “While deliveries are allowed, restaurants require passes for deliveries and getting passes has been a challenge as the rejection rate is much higher than the issuing rate.”

No lockdown in Haryana

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ruled out any lockdown. But the State government has imposed a night curfew since Monday, which has come as a shock to service providers, especially those associated with the marriage industry. The State on Thursday announced a slew of measures to check the spread. These include the advisory that wedding ceremonies should be performed in daytime instead of night and also religious programmes should also be done during day. It has allowed 200 people to attend outdoor wedding ceremonies and 50 for indoor events. The the number of people attending a funeral has been capped at 20.

Punjab rules out curfew

Punjab reported 3,329 new cases and 63 more deaths on Wednesday. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ruled out any weekend curfew for now, but ordered strict enforcement of Covid-19 protocols to prevent any super spread.

Review of M.P. situation

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the Covid situation in Madhya Pradesh and the measures taken by the health authorities for surveillance, containment and management of he pandemic.

The State was asked to curb non-essential movement of large groups of people and social gatherings that could turn into super spreader events to prevent surge in cases and prevent mortality.

 

 

Published on April 15, 2021

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