New Delhi: Following a severe uptick in Covid-19 cases in Delhi in the past few weeks and increased cases of the new coronavirus variant Omicron being reported from the city, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued a fresh order Tuesday.
The authority has ordered schools, colleges, coaching centres, education institutes, libraries, cinema halls, theatres, banquet halls, auditoriums, spas, gyms, sports complexes and swimming pools in the national capital to be closed till further notice.
The order, accessed by ThePrint, also restricts the footfall allowed at malls and markets to 50 per cent of capacity, and puts in place an odd-even rule (for shops to open on alternate days) for enterprises dealing with non-essential commodities and services.
Private offices have been allowed to operate between 9 am and 5 pm, with 50 per cent physical attendance of staff. The only ones exempted from this rule are sectors like healthcare, food, banking, media, transport, power, water, cargo, storage, IT services and postal services.
The order also imposed a night curfew in the city between 10 pm and 5 am.
While the DDMA order required all restrictions to be imposed with immediate effect, two senior DDMA officials told ThePrint that “for all practical purposes, the implementation begins at 10 pm today (Tuesday)”.
According to data shared by the Union health ministry Tuesday, the total number of confirmed Omicron cases in Delhi has reached 165. The capital has registered the second highest number of Omicron cases in the country, after Maharashtra (which has registered 167 cases).
Delhi recorded a total of 331 fresh Covid cases Monday, which is the highest single-day rise since 9 June.
Tuesday’s DDMA notice also requires the Delhi Metro to operate at 50 per cent seating capacity, with no standing passengers allowed. The same rule applies for buses. Cabs and autorickshaws may take in a maximum of two passengers at a time, the DDMA order added.
The order also allowed marriages to be held only in court or at residences, and with a maximum of 20 guests. It also limited funeral gatherings to a maximum of 20.
Bar entries and dine-ins at restaurants have to be limited to 50 per cent capacity, with establishments closing at 10 pm. No events and conferences are allowed to be held at hotels, under these restrictions, and no visitors allowed in religious places.
The DDMA has also put in a complete ban on business exhibitions and gatherings of any kind, whether political, cultural, religious or academic.
In August, the DDMA, had notified a graded action plan for Covid-19 management, which categorised restrictions into Yellow, Amber, Orange and Red. While yellow is the least stringent set of restrictions, red is the strictest.
The current restrictions imposed in Delhi fall under the ‘yellow alert’ category.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had told the press that having recorded a positivity rate of more than 0.50 per cent for two consecutive days (according to the government health bulletin), the city qualified for restrictions under the ‘Yellow’ category.
While Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal is the chairperson of the DDMA, CM Kejriwal is the vice-chairperson.
A ‘Yellow’ alert does not impose a weekend curfew and allows deliveries of all goods, and construction activities. It also does not impose any restrictions on shops that are not located in markets.
The next level of alerts, Amber, would entail weekend curfews and further restrictions on seating capacity in the Metro and buses, shops in markets and malls dealing in non-essential goods and services to be closed by 6 pm, complete closure of bars and dine-in spaces in restaurants, closure of salons and beauty parlours and parks.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)