Schools, cinemas and gyms shut in Delhi; odd-even for shops, malls

4 weeks ago 9

The seating capacity on Metro trains and buses will be reduced by 50 per cent. Auto-rickshaws and taxis can carry up to two passengers

New Delhi: As Covid-19 and Omicron cases have risen steeply in the national capital over the past several days, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Tuesday ordered the closure of schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms with immediate effect and put a series of restrictions on the working of shops and public transport as a “yellow alert” was sounded under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

The “yellow alert” restrictions means that shops and establishments of non-essential goods and services and malls will open based on an “odd-even” formula from 10 am to 8 pm each day. The seating capacity on Metro trains and buses will be reduced by 50 per cent. Auto-rickshaws and taxis can carry up to two passengers.

The timing of night curfew imposed from Monday night has also been extended by an hour, and it will now begin at 10 pm. The 10 pm-5 am night curfew will be in force till further orders, the DDMA order said.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday, after reviewing the Covid-19 situation at a high-level meeting, said that while virus cases were rising fast in Delhi, there was no need to panic as most people have mild symptoms. The CM said the Covid positivity rate in Delhi has been above 0.5 per cent for over two days, and so the “yellow alert” came into force under the Graded Response Action Plan.

Mr Kejriwal said at a press conference that Delhi was “10 times better prepared” than earlier to deal with the rise in Covid-19 cases this time. “The Covid cases are mild, and there is no increase in the consumption of oxygen or use of ventilators despite the spike,” he said.

Shops selling non-essential items will be opened on alternate days, and malls will be open based on an odd-even formula from 10 am to 8 pm. Only one weekly market per zone with 50 per cent vendors will be allowed to open.

Marriages and funerals will be allowed, with a cut in the list of attendees. Private offices will function with 50 per cent staff barring all essential services, which includes hospitals, banks, insurance companies, telecom services and the media. Online deliveries, however, can continue.

Gyms, yoga institutes and entertainment parks will remain closed, but outdoor yoga will be allowed. Cinema halls, multiplexes, banquet halls and auditoriums will remain shut. Hotels will remain open, but banquet and conference halls inside hotels will remain closed.

Sports complexes, stadiums and swimming pools will be closed in the “yellow alert”, but national or international sports events can be held.

Only 20 people will be allowed to attend the weddings and funerals. Religious places will stay open, with curbs on the entry of devotees. There is also a provision to ban social, political and religious festivals and entertainment-related activities under this alert.

Standalone shops or markets in residential colonies will not follow the odd-even rule. Restaurants and bars will be closed at 10 pm, and they will operate at 50 per cent capacity. The restaurants can open from 8 am and bars from 12 noon.

Salons, barber shops and parlours will be allowed. Spas and wellness clinics will be closed.

Delhi saw a massive spike in Covid-19 cases hours after the imposition of the “yellow alert” restrictions -- 496 new cases and one death have been recorded in the past 24 hours, a 50 per cent jump. This is the biggest single-day spike since June 2. The positivity rate stands at 0.89 per cent -- the highest since May 31.

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