Thursday, April 22

Covid-19: Delhi looks to withdraw relaxation on wedding attendees, shut markets emerging as hot spots

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the government has decided to withdraw its order concerning relaxation on the size of gatherings for marriage ceremonies, which would effectively bring back the cap of 50 individuals. The move, however, would need approval of Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal who is the chairperson of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

Kejriwal also said that he would send a request to the Centre, urging that the Delhi government be allowed to temporarily close markets which are assessed as potential Covid-19 hot spots for rampant violation of social distancing norms and other Covid-19-related regulations.

“A few weeks ago, when the Covid-19 situation had improved, cap on gatherings in marriages was relaxed – from 50 to 200 individuals. The government has decided to withdraw the order, and bring back the limit on the size of wedding-related gatherings from 200 to 50. The proposal has been sent for L-G’s approval today,” said the chief minister in a video press briefing.

He added, “During Diwali, we have witnessed massive crowds in the markets across the city and in some of them, a large number of people were found neither wearing masks nor following social distancing norms. This has led to transmission of coronavirus. Even though crowds are expected to reduce in markets now, we will send a proposal to the Central government requesting them to allow us to temporarily close those markets where we see rampant violation of social distancing norms and Covid-19 regulations, which we assess as potential hot spots.”

Under the current guidelines of the Union home ministry, states need approval of the Union ministry for imposing local lockdown-like restrictions.

Kejriwal, on Tuesday, thanked the Centre for its recent intervention in Delhi’s fight against Covid-19 and specifically mentioned the shortage of ICU beds. “Total beds are adequate in Delhi. Though occupancy in private hospitals in high but there is a crisis of ICU beds. I thank the central government for its timely intervention and the 750 ICU beds they have assured,” he said.

As on Tuesday noon, hospitals across the city – including both public and private ones – had 3,564 ICU beds pressed in Covid-19 service, of which 3,145 were occupied, government records showed.

The chief minister further asked people to not let their guards down at any cost. “Covid-19 does not discriminate. It can happen to any of us. You have to strictly adhere to rules and take all precautions,” he said.