Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases following the emergence of Omicron variant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday declared a ‘yellow alert’ under which schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms will remain closed, shops dealing in non-essential items will open on odd-even basis, and metro trains and buses will run with 50% of seating capacity in the city.
In accordance with ‘Level-1’ alert under the graded response action plan (GRAP), there would be night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am and private offices will function with physical attendance of 50% of the staff, barring essential categories.
Marriages and funerals will be allowed attendance of 20 people while all other types of gathering related to social, political, cultural, religious and festival events will be prohibited under the ‘yellow alert’ that came into force with immediate effect.
Shops of non-essential goods and services in markets and malls can open based on odd-even formula from 10 AM to 8 PM. Restaurants will be permitted with 50% capacity from 8 am to 10 pm while bars can also operate with the same capacity, but from 12 noon to 10 pm.
The new restrictions follow the national capital’s biggest single-day spike in infections in over six months on Monday when 331 new cases were reported with a positivity rate of 0.67%.
The total number of cases of new Omicron variant of Covid- 19 recorded in the national capital has mounted to 165, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. There were 67 Omicron cases in the national capital on Friday.
Addressing an online press conference, Kejriwal said cases were rising fast in Delhi, but there was no need to panic as most people have mild symptoms.
The yellow alert is imposed when the Covid positivity rate stays above 0.50% for two consecutive days.
“The cases have risen but there has been no increase in consumption of oxygen or use of ventilators. Most of the patients are getting cured without hospitalisation as they have minor symptoms or are asymptomatic,” he said during the online briefing.
The chief minister assured Delhiites that his government is 10 times more prepared than before to tackle the rising Covid cases.
Kejriwal, however, said it was unfortunate that people were visiting markets and malls without masks and appealed to them to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
He also said that restrictions are being imposed to avoid this virus from entering anyone’s home and the government doesn’t want anyone to catch even fever or cold.
The GRAP had been approved by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in July, in anticipation of a third wave of Covid-19 in Delhi. It was meant to have a clearer picture of imposition and lifting of restrictions according to the prevailing situation.
Under the yellow alert, banquet halls, spas, outdoor yoga activity, amusement parks, stadia, swimming pools are also not allowed to function.
Only one weekly market per municipal zone with 50% vendors is permitted to function.
The Level-1 alert allows construction, manufacturing activities and the opening of shops and establishments of essential goods.
The next level of alert, following ‘Yellow’, is coded with ‘Amber’ (L-2). It will come into force if the positivity rate rises above one per cent or new cases number 3,500 or oxygenated bed occupancy reaches 700.
This alert will invoke the same responses mostly as ‘yellow’ one except that malls and shops of non-essential goods and services will be allowed to open from 10 AM to 6 PM.
The Delhi Metro will run at 33% of its seating capacity under ‘amber’ alert under which dining facility in restaurants will not be allowed, but home delivery or take away service will continue.
The ‘Orange’ or L-3 alert will kick-in if the positivity rate crosses two per cent or new cases number 9,000 or oxygenated bed occupancy becomes 1,000.
Construction activities will be allowed with onsite labourers while industrial activities will be restricted except those related to essential commodities and defense production. Malls and weekly markets will be closed. Only standalone non-essential shops will open from 10 AM to 6 PM, the plan stated.
The ‘Red’ alert (L-4) will be the highest level and will come into force if the positivity rate crosses five per cent or new cases rise to 16,000 or oxygenated bed occupancy reaches 3,000.
Although most economic activities will not be permitted under the ‘Red’ alert, construction activities with onsite labourers and industrial manufacturing of essential commodities, national security and defence-related productions will be allowed, while malls and weekly markets will be closed.
The GRAP also recommends guidelines for people entering the city, including for travellers from states with over five per cent positivity rate and those which have reported mutant strains.
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