Delhi lockdown extended by a week on public opinion: CM -

Delhi lockdown extended by a week on public opinion: CM


Delhi on Sunday extended by a week its lockdown, a “last resort” measure put in place to arrest the alarming spread of Covid-19 in the Capital, as the health care infrastructure remained overwhelmed by a massive surge in infections, with complaints of shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds pouring in from across the city.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdown last Monday, citing a relentless surge in Covid-19 infections that inundated hospitals. While he hoped that the lockdown would not have to be extended, the Delhi chief minister on Sunday indicated the battle to control the fourth and the worst wave of infections was far from over.

“The situation is concerning. Last week, we imposed a six-day lockdown in the light of the Covid-19 situation which should have ended tomorrow (Monday). The lockdown was necessary. This is our last weapon against the rapidly spreading pandemic. The unfortunate thing is that Covid-19 is still spreading. Delhi recorded a positivity rate of around 36% this week. Even though the positivity rate has today dropped to slightly below 29%, we need more time to observe the trends,” Kejriwal said in a digital news briefing.

“In the light of the current situation, we have decided to increase the lockdown by another week. The lockdown now applies till 5am next Monday (May 3),” he said.

The chief minister added that the decision was in accordance with public sentiment. “The public opinion is for extension of lockdown,” Kejriwal said.

On Sunday, Delhi added 22,933 new Covid-19 cases and recorded 350 deaths, taking the city’s total tally to 1,027,715 and toll to 14,248. The Capital’s positivity rate — the proportion of samples testing positive for Covid-19 — was 30.21%, exponentially higher than the 5% threshold that experts say is the sign of an outbreak under control.

Essential activities, including the sale and supply of food items, groceries, medicines, etc., are allowed in the lockdown. There are no restrictions on the movement of health care workers, frontline workers, government staff, judicial officials, journalists and those seeking medical attention.

With the extension of the lockdown, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) order – HT has seen a copy – included some new categories of exemption. They include: services provided by self-employed persons such as plumbers, electricians and those engaged in repairing of water purifiers; courier services; shops that sell educational books for students; and those selling electric fans. However, they will be allowed with a valid e-pass for movement.

Kejriwal said: “Delhi is facing a severe shortage of oxygen. We need 700 MT of oxygen every day but the city’s current quota – after recent increase – is 490 MT. Secondly, even the amount allocated to us by the central government is not reaching us. Yesterday (Saturday) we received only 335 MT. The central government has been helping a lot in this regard. I have also written to chief ministers in other states to help us. The chaos, we hope, will be sorted in a few days.”

The city has reported nearly 2,500 deaths due to Covid-19 in a 12-day period. Several hospitals in the national capital are grappling with severe shortage of medical oxygen. On Saturday, 20 people died at a Delhi hospital as the facility said its stock of oxygen was running dangerously low.

Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia recently alleged that states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were obstructing the movement of oxygen tankers, and sought the help of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in getting the issue resolved.

The Delhi high court on Saturday asked the Centre about the preparedness to deal with the expected Covid-19 second wave peak in mid-May, terming the mounting cases as a “tsunami”, and also warned it will “hang” any person who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals in the Capital.

With the worsening of conditions at the hospitals, the Centre has announced exemption of basic customs duty on import of Covid-19 vaccines, medical-grade oxygen and related equipment to boost domestic availability and directed the customs department to clear all import consignments, including life-saving drugs and equipment used in Covid-19 treatment on priority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly radio address on Sunday that India had been shaken by a “storm”, and called on people to get vaccinated and not “get swayed by any rumour about the vaccines”.

In his briefing, Kejriwal said: “At this point, management of oxygen is the key. We have issued an order directing all hospitals and oxygen vendors to provide the government real-time updates on oxygen stock, consumption, and details on departures from plants, arrival in Delhi, etc., every two hours. The situation is tough but I am sure we will overcome this health emergency.”

The lockdown order issued on Sunday also specified that there will be no restrictions on the interstate and intrastate movement of all types or goods, cargoes and empty trucks. They don’t need any separate movement passes.

Under the previous lockdown order issued on April 19, such an exemption was applicable on interstate and intrastate movement of only essential goods.

Earlier in the day, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) too urged the Delhi government to extend the lockdown. “We @CAITIndia urge Delhi LG Shri Anil Baijal and Delhi CM Shri ArvindKejriwal to extend lockdown till 2 May though we know that traders will be the worst sufferers but nation first, Delhi first,” Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of CAIT, tweeted.

Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the division of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said: “Delhi should have imposed a series of restrictions by mid-March. Now the situation has gone out of hand. The government is not left with too many options now than extending the lockdown. They have to scale up bed capacity, increase ICUs and do something about the oxygen crisis. For all that to happen, the spread has to be controlled.”

Delhi on Sunday extended by a week its lockdown, a “last resort” measure put in place to arrest the alarming spread of Covid-19 in the Capital, as the health care infrastructure remained overwhelmed by a massive surge in infections, with complaints of shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds pouring in from across the city.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a six-day lockdown last Monday, citing a relentless surge in Covid-19 infections that inundated hospitals. While he hoped that the lockdown would not have to be extended, the Delhi chief minister on Sunday indicated the battle to control the fourth and the worst wave of infections was far from over.

“The situation is concerning. Last week, we imposed a six-day lockdown in the light of the Covid-19 situation which should have ended tomorrow (Monday). The lockdown was necessary. This is our last weapon against the rapidly spreading pandemic. The unfortunate thing is that Covid-19 is still spreading. Delhi recorded a positivity rate of around 36% this week. Even though the positivity rate has today dropped to slightly below 29%, we need more time to observe the trends,” Kejriwal said in a digital news briefing.

“In the light of the current situation, we have decided to increase the lockdown by another week. The lockdown now applies till 5am next Monday (May 3),” he said.

The chief minister added that the decision was in accordance with public sentiment. “The public opinion is for extension of lockdown,” Kejriwal said.

On Sunday, Delhi added 22,933 new Covid-19 cases and recorded 350 deaths, taking the city’s total tally to 1,027,715 and toll to 14,248. The Capital’s positivity rate — the proportion of samples testing positive for Covid-19 — was 30.21%, exponentially higher than the 5% threshold that experts say is the sign of an outbreak under control.

Essential activities, including the sale and supply of food items, groceries, medicines, etc., are allowed in the lockdown. There are no restrictions on the movement of health care workers, frontline workers, government staff, judicial officials, journalists and those seeking medical attention.

With the extension of the lockdown, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority’s (DDMA) order – HT has seen a copy – included some new categories of exemption. They include: services provided by self-employed persons such as plumbers, electricians and those engaged in repairing of water purifiers; courier services; shops that sell educational books for students; and those selling electric fans. However, they will be allowed with a valid e-pass for movement.

Kejriwal said: “Delhi is facing a severe shortage of oxygen. We need 700 MT of oxygen every day but the city’s current quota – after recent increase – is 490 MT. Secondly, even the amount allocated to us by the central government is not reaching us. Yesterday (Saturday) we received only 335 MT. The central government has been helping a lot in this regard. I have also written to chief ministers in other states to help us. The chaos, we hope, will be sorted in a few days.”

The city has reported nearly 2,500 deaths due to Covid-19 in a 12-day period. Several hospitals in the national capital are grappling with severe shortage of medical oxygen. On Saturday, 20 people died at a Delhi hospital as the facility said its stock of oxygen was running dangerously low.

Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia recently alleged that states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were obstructing the movement of oxygen tankers, and sought the help of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in getting the issue resolved.

The Delhi high court on Saturday asked the Centre about the preparedness to deal with the expected Covid-19 second wave peak in mid-May, terming the mounting cases as a “tsunami”, and also warned it will “hang” any person who tries to obstruct oxygen supplies to hospitals in the Capital.

With the worsening of conditions at the hospitals, the Centre has announced exemption of basic customs duty on import of Covid-19 vaccines, medical-grade oxygen and related equipment to boost domestic availability and directed the customs department to clear all import consignments, including life-saving drugs and equipment used in Covid-19 treatment on priority.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly radio address on Sunday that India had been shaken by a “storm”, and called on people to get vaccinated and not “get swayed by any rumour about the vaccines”.

In his briefing, Kejriwal said: “At this point, management of oxygen is the key. We have issued an order directing all hospitals and oxygen vendors to provide the government real-time updates on oxygen stock, consumption, and details on departures from plants, arrival in Delhi, etc., every two hours. The situation is tough but I am sure we will overcome this health emergency.”

The lockdown order issued on Sunday also specified that there will be no restrictions on the interstate and intrastate movement of all types or goods, cargoes and empty trucks. They don’t need any separate movement passes.

Under the previous lockdown order issued on April 19, such an exemption was applicable on interstate and intrastate movement of only essential goods.

Earlier in the day, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) too urged the Delhi government to extend the lockdown. “We @CAITIndia urge Delhi LG Shri Anil Baijal and Delhi CM Shri ArvindKejriwal to extend lockdown till 2 May though we know that traders will be the worst sufferers but nation first, Delhi first,” Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of CAIT, tweeted.

Dr Lalit Kant, former head of the division of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said: “Delhi should have imposed a series of restrictions by mid-March. Now the situation has gone out of hand. The government is not left with too many options now than extending the lockdown. They have to scale up bed capacity, increase ICUs and do something about the oxygen crisis. For all that to happen, the spread has to be controlled.”



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