The central government's late-night order to allow all shops to reopen in residential areas - except those in malls - amid a nationwide lockdown over coronavirus may not have much impact in Delhi that has 92 containment zones. In its order last night, the Union Home Ministry made it clear that the exemptions are not allowed in the hotspots.
Any decision on the Ministry of Home Affairs's directive will be taken after the Delhi government reviews the situation this afternoon, Health Minister Satyendar Kumar Jain said today. "A decision will be taken this afternoon. Delhi has 92 hotspots... entire city or district is not a containment zone. Whatever is finalised, will be started only after April 30," Satyendar Jain told news agency ANI.
The national capital has recorded the third highest number of coronavirus cases in India (2,514). The state government has restricted the exit and entry of people in 92 hotspots - spread across all 11 districts - to break the chain of transmission of the highly contagious COVID-19.
Centre's latest relaxation comes nearly a week after the lockdown was eased across the country in the parts not affected by the pandemic.
Last Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the shutdown cannot be relaxed in the city as all the 11 districts have hotspots. "I am concerned about children not going to schools, people not being able to earn their livelihoods. But if we relax the lockdown and fall short of hospital beds, ventilators... what will do then? For now, we have decided not to relax the lockdown," he said during a video conference, adding that the situation will be monitored in a week.
In a late-night order, the Union Home Ministry announced the easing of restrictions as it allowed reopening of all neighbourhood shops. "All registered shops regd (registered) under Shops & Establishment Act of respective States/ UTs, including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood & standalone shops exempted from lockdown restrictions," the order read.
#COVID19 update— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 24, 2020
All registered shops regd under Shops & Establishment Act of respective States/ UTs, including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood & standalone shops exempted from #lockdown restrictions.
Prohibited: Shops in single & multi brand malls pic.twitter.com/NNz9abgWdA
"Market complexes, except those within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, are allowed to open," it added.
However, with public transport still closed, employees of shops that can re-open could still find it tough to get to work.
Across India, more than 24,000 people have contracted COVID-19 infected, over 700 have died so far due to the illness. Of these, 53 deaths have been reported from the national capital.