Economic activities should be allowed in Delhi except in containment zones, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday in an online meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss on the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
Shops, malls, public transport and e-commerce activities were closed across the country in March as India entered a lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. Last week, the central government eased some restrictions like allowing neighbourhood stores to open but maintained curbs on markets and public transport.
Speaking at PM Modi's fifth consultation with Chief Ministers on Monday to discuss the coronavirus crisis, Arvind Kejriwal called for lifting more curbs in Delhi - all of which has been designated a "Red Zone" to suggest a high-concentration of cases.
The Delhi government is in favour of allowing all offices, industries, markets and e-commerce should be allowed with precautions like physical distancing, masks and face-shields, limiting the number of people, sources said.
In an online news conference last week, Arvind Kejriwal had said that Delhi was prepared to handle coronavirus cases in the city and ready to lift the lockdown. "The time has come to re-open Delhi. We will have to be ready to live with coronavirus," declared the Chief Minister.
However, he was contradicted a day later by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan who said Delhi should allow "only minimum relaxations" and stringent measures are required to tackle the highly contagious coronavirus in the city.
Delhi has registered around 7,000 coronavirus cases including 73 deaths. The number of cases is nearly half of that in Mumbai and the fatality rate is significantly lower than the national average. Delhi also has the highest rate of coronavirus testing in country.
The Delhi government has responded to the crisis with a strict clampdown on hotspots within the city, restricting all movement within them and carrying out door-to-door health checks. Delhi currently has 81 such areas dubbed containment zones.
During the video conference on Monday, PM Modi told chief ministers that India will have to devise and implement a "balanced strategy" to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and the biggest challenge for the country will be to ensure that the infection does not spread to villages.
Appreciating the role played by the states in the fight against the pandemic, PM Modi said the entire world is of the view that India has been able to successfully protect itself from the pandemic, according to official sources.