Covid: Deaths, admissions low, no need to panic, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

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Covid: Deaths, admissions low, no need to panic, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
© Provided by Hindustan Times Speaking at the Rajghat bus depot, where he flagged off 100 new buses, the chief minister also said the state will tighten curbs only if necessary and relax restrictions if cases begin to trend downward. (HT Photo)

Highlighting Delhi’s low Covid-19 hospitalisation rates and fewer deaths compared to previous surges of the infection, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday urged residents not to panic, even as he acknowledged the rapid spread of the virus through the city, as it headed into its second weekend curfew of the fifth wave of cases.

Speaking at the Rajghat bus depot, where he flagged off 100 new buses, the chief minister also said the state will tighten curbs only if necessary and relax restrictions if cases begin to trend downwards.

“The number of Covid-19 cases is rapidly increasing. The infection rate in Delhi has now [as on Thursday] reached nearly 29%, but there is no cause for concern. The number of patients admitted to hospitals is very low, as is the number of deaths. As a result, there is no need for people to be concerned or panicked,” Kejriwal said.

“There is no shortage of hospital beds. There are also plenty of intensive care beds available. We do not need to panic, but we must act responsibly. We are keeping an eye on the Covid-19 situation. We will tighten the restrictions only if necessary, but if cases begin to decline, we will relax the curbs,” he added.

State government data showed that 2,529 patients in Delhi are hospitalised, up marginally from 2,424 a day ago.

Nearly 13,000 of the city’s 15,478 hospital beds are still vacant, with the state in a position to ramp up to 37,000 oxygen beds overnight, if required.

Like last week, the weekend curfew kicked in from 10pm on Friday and will be in place till 5am on Monday, as part of the restrictions to check the spread of Covid-19.

E-passes issued on or after January 4 for essential movement and those in exempted groups will continue to be valid throughout the ongoing period of night and weekend curfews.

“The weekend curfew and the daily night curfew from 10pm to 5am are in place and will continue to be implemented strictly till further orders,” a DDMA official said.

All existing restrictions under the ‘yellow alert’ will continue to be in place, under which educational institutions, gyms, and cinemas are shut. The Metro and public buses are allowed to occupy 100% of their seating capacity, but cannot carry standing passengers. Shops in malls and markets will continue to operate on an odd-even basis between 10am and 8pm. Only 20 people are allowed to attend weddings and funerals.

“In case any person is found violating the instructions, they will be proceeded against as per the provisions of section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Section 188 of IPC and other applicable laws, besides imposition of fines,” the DDMA official stated. All district administration and police authorities have been asked to enforce all existing restrictions.

The weekend curfew prohibits all non-essential activity, and exempts businesses and individuals engaged in essential services. Shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, animal fodder, pharmaceuticals, medicines and medical equipment; dairy and milk booths; banks, insurance offices and ATMs; print and electronic media; telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services; IT and IT-enabled services will be open. Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through e-commerce is allowed. Those providing essential services will need to produce e-passes or valid identity cards upon request.

People coming from or going to airports, railway stations or bus terminals will be allowed travel with valid tickets, as will those who work for services such as grocery shops, internet service providers, banks and petrol pumps.

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