Delhi under lockdown to contain COVID-19 spread

Delhi under lockdown to contain COVID-19 spread

A man crosses a deserted Rajpath during a nationwide one day Janata (civil) curfew imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Delhi on March 22, 2020. (Credit: AFP Photo)

Delhi in lock-down from Monday

Shemin Joy

The national capital will be in lockdown from Monday till this month-end, sealing the borders, suspending all modes of public transport and closing down shops and markets.

However, the announcement to disallow landing of incoming domestic flights by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as part of the lockdown was immediately contradicted by the central government, which said the Indira Gandhi International airport will continue to function as usual.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police invoked Section 144 to prohibit any gatherings and weekly markets while Delhi Metro announced shutting of its operations.

"Extraordinary situations require extraordinary measures...Delhi will be in lockdown from March 23 6 am till the midnight of March 31," Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at a joint press conference with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

No public transport -- auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws, taxis, private bus service, government buses and Delhi Metro -- will be allowed during this period. Inter-state buses will not ply on Delhi road.

"The borders states will be sealed. However, there will be an exemption for supply of essential commodities," Kejriwal said. During this period, all private offices will remain closed but both permanent and contractual employees will be considered to be on-duty and should be paid their salaries.

Construction work will be banned during this period. Religious places will also not be allowed to function.

However, essential services like grocery shops and meat and fish shops will be open. Takeaways and home delivery by restaurants will be allowed.

He also said Delhi Assembly's one-day budget session will be held on Monday.

Kejriwal said there are 27 cases of COVID-19 in Delhi -- six of them fall under the category of local transmission while 21 had come from abroad.

Follow live updates of coronavirus cases in India here

In its order invoking Section 144, Delhi Police said there is a "likelihood of fast and widespread community transmission" of COVID-19. Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava issued the order invoking Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) from 9 pm of March 22 till the midnight of March 31.

As per the order, demonstrations, processions and protests, as well as any cultural, political, religious, academic and sports gatherings, seminar and conferences, are prohibited.

The organisation of weekly markets, concerts and exhibitions are also banned during this period but those selling vegetables, fruits and essential commodities are given exemption. Guided group tours conducted by private tour operators also come under the ambit of the order.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

"Any individual suspected/confirmed with COVID-19 shall take measures for prevention/treatment ie home quarantine/institution quarantine/isolation or any such person shall cooperate to render assistance or comply with the directions of the surveillance personnel," it said.

Anyone violating the order will be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to Rs 200 under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. 

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