New Delhi, Mar 22
A lockdown will be imposed in Delhi till March 31, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, announcing unprecedented curbs amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) that has infected 27 people in the city-State.
All private offices will remain closed but employees — both permanent and contractual — will be considered on duty, Kejriwal said. Companies will have to provide them salary, he said at a press conference also attended by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
“We have decided to impose a lockdown in Delhi from 6 am tomorrow (23rd March) to the midnight of March 31,” Kejriwal said, announcing stringent measures taken to stop the spread of the highly contagious Sars-Cov-2 virus, which causes Covid-19. The capital’s borders will be closed during this period.
Though Kejriwal announced all domestic flights flying into Delhi will be cancelled, an official of aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a clarification soon after, saying all domestic flights to and from the National capital will continue to operate.
Dairies, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps will remain open, Kejriwal said, adding that essential services including medical services will function.
But no public transport services, including private buses, autos and e-rickshaws, will be allowed during the lockdown, and just 25% of the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus fleet will be on the roads to carry people delivering essential services.
“During the lockdown, no document or proof will be sought from people if they say that they are out on streets to provide or avail any essential service,” he said.
“We know people will face difficulties, but lockdown is necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus,” he said.
On Sunday, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that prevents the assembly of four or more people were clamped in Delhi.
The order bans demonstrations, protests, processions among other types of assemblies for social, cultural, political, religious, academic and sports.
Also, Delhi Metro, along with other metro services across the country, have been suspended till March 31.