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Kejriwal govt orders Delhi restaurants to shut shop with immediate effect until 31 March

Arvind Kerjiwal says Delhi govt has started quarantine stamps, urges residents to reduce public gatherings to 20 people.

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New Delhi: The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government Thursday announced that all restaurants in the national capital will remain closed until 31 March in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The order comes into effect immediately.

The AAP government’s media team clarified that today there would be leniency in dealing with the restaurants as the announcement was made in the evening, but from Friday it will be strictly enforced.

The chief minister, however, added that takeaway and home delivery services will continue.

Addressing a press conference, CM Kejriwal said his government was taking all measures to keep the situation in control in Delhi — to this effect, he added, public service vehicles such as buses and cabs will be disinfected from 10 am to 6pm daily at the depots.

Delhi has reported 10 positive coronavirus cases so far, besides one death.

On the availability of beds for patients, Kejirwal said, “We have a capacity of 768 beds currently, out of which 57 are occupied and 711 are vacant.”

He added that out of 550 isolation beds, 40 were occupied by suspected patients of coronavirus. Another 95 beds, Kejriwal said, were available at central government hospitals in Delhi, of which 67 were occupied.

The chief minister said the Delhi government had also started marking people with “quarantine stamps”.

Kejriwal also urged Delhi residents to reduce public gatherings — for religious, social or any other reason — to 20 people from 50.

Appealing to residents to remain calm and not create panic, the chief minister said private firms must also try and allow their employees to work from home.

“I request all those who are in isolation to remain so and those put in quarantine to take this seriously and not step out of their homes or immediate vicinity,” said Kejriwal, adding that any violation could invite “strict measures”.

“If you do not abide by the dos and don’ts, then we may even lodge an FIR against violators or take such people into custody,” he said.

He said non-essential public services in Delhi will be disallowed by the government from Friday, however, he did not elaborate on which services. The details, he said, were being worked out and will be shared Friday.

Sources told ThePrint that the Delhi Jal Board, food and civil supplies and health services will remain open, while a proposal to close all other departments had been shared with the LG, whose his final approval is awaited.

Also read: Modi govt COVID-19 advisory: Those above 65, below 10 must stay home, no concessional travel

Staggering timings, few depts to work from home

Meanwhile, jan samvads or public gatherings addressed by local MLAs have been stopped as well until 31 March. ThePrint has also learnt that a few MLAs — including Rajinder Nagar MLA Raghav Chadha — have closed their offices where they meet with the public and are, instead, available on phone.

Somnath Bharati, the MLA from Malaviya Nagar, has written to the CM requesting thermal screens that can be placed outside their offices.

The Delhi Secretariat, meanwhile, which earlier had only sanitisers at the entrance has also started screening all employees from Thursday.

Staggering office timings for some departments is also being considered, a Delhi government official told ThePrint.

The proposal comes after a team of DGEWA (Delhi Government Employees Association) met the CM demanding a week’s leave and submitted a memorandum in this regard. The memorandum claims that over 2.5 lakh people employed with the administration were engaged in public dealing and so they and their families were vulnerable.

Also read: Work from home, more sick leaves, no visitors: How Modi govt is keeping staff COVID 19-free


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