Cong backs lockdown of Delhi markets, public transport

Congress favours total lockdown of markets, public transport in Delhi to check Covid spike

Congress said the Covid situation is "very bad" as "one in every five persons" infected by Covid-19 is from Delhi

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a man for a RT-PCR test for the Covid-19 coronavirus along a street in New Delhi. Credit: AFP Photo

The Congress on Tuesday sought immediate steps to check the spread of coronavirus in the national capital and favoured a complete lockdown of markets, public transport and government offices, instead of a partial one.

Congress senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said the Covid situation in the national capital is "very bad" as "one in every five persons" infected by Covid-19 is from Delhi.

He said there cannot be a worse decision than Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's proposal to impose partial lockdown in markets and hotspots in Delhi as it would lead to the virus spreading faster to other areas and markets.

Terming it as a knee-jerk reaction, he said, "There should be a complete lockdown and not partial."

"Kejriwal ji's idea to selectively close markets in Delhi is disastrous. By doing so, he will concentrate crowds to a select few markets," he said.

"We urge the government to shut all offices in Delhi and promote 'work from home'. We also urge the government to shut public transport including metro and DTC buses to prevent the further spread of the virus," Maken said, adding that these steps should not be linked to the economy as lives are more important.

He also alleged that both the Centre and the Delhi government were "playing games" instead of adding medical infrastructure in the capital.

Addressing a virtual press conference, he accused the Delhi government of having "misplaced priorities" as it was spending crores of rupees on "self-promotional" advertisements.

He accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of spending over Rs 32 crore on advertisements to promote himself during the festival and said the amount could have been utilised to add more ICU beds in Delhi.

"It is unfortunate that one in every five coronavirus-infected persons is from Delhi. Delhi has by far the highest number of Covid cases and deaths in the country and we are even much ahead and worse than countries like the UK, France and Brazil," he told reporters.

Maken said while the national average of Covid cases per million was 6,407, Delhi was five times more infected with 29,140 cases per million.

"Instead of fighting the coronavirus, the Delhi and central governments are playing games and are not focussing on controlling the virus.

"Neither are they adding more ICU beds in Delhi. The knee-jerk reaction of the Delhi government is responsible for the current state of affairs in the national capital," he alleged.

The former Delhi Congress chief said while Delhi desperately needed more beds, ICUs and ventilators, "Kejriwal rather chose to blow off Rs 32 crore on Diwali publicity and stunts".

Delhi has seen a spurt in the number of Covid-19 cases in the past week and it is expected to rise further after the festival season.