- Delhi has so far seen more than 4,000 cases of coronavirus
- Arvind Kejriwal indicated a phased removal of the lockdown
- Delhi is "prepared in terms of hospitals and kits", he said
Delhi is "ready to lift the lockdown" Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday, announcing a list of services and industries which have been given restricted relief as the countrywide lockdown is set to enter its third phase. "The time has come to re-open Delhi. We will have to be ready to live with coronavirus," declared the Chief Minister at a press conference.
Delhi has so far seen 4,122 cases of coronavirus, of whom 1256 patients have recovered, 64 have died.
Indicating a phased removal of the lockdown, the Chief Minister said Delhi is prepared to ease restrictions "in places other than containment zones". The reason, he said, is that Delhi is "prepared in terms of hospitals and kits".
"We are suggesting to the Union government that all containment zones should remain sealed. Rest they can start terming as green zones. Shops can be opened on an odd-even basis. Even after complete lifting of lockdown, if a few cases increase, we are prepared to handle that as well," Mr Kejriwal told reporters.
Private offices, Mr Kejriwal said, can open but only 33 per cent of the work force will be allowed. Sectors like IT hardware manufacturing, essential goods manufacturing units can continue.
Besides, e-commerce activities for essential goods, IT services and call centres, warehouses and private security services can also continue, he said.
While major market areas like Connaught Place and Khan Market will remain shut, shops there providing essential services can remain open, the Chief Minister said. Stationery shops, standalone and neighbourhood shops and residential lanes shops for both essential and non-essential services can be open.
Also, self-employed people, like technicians, plumbers, electricians and household helps, will be allowed to begin work.
While public transport will stay shut, private vehicles – four-wheelers and two-wheelers – can ply. Four-wheelers can carry two people and a driver and only one person on two wheelers.
Weddings will be allowed with 50 people in attendance, funerals with 20 people.
Citing reasons for the government's decisions, Mr Kejriwal said turning all of Delhi into a red zone gives rise to "two very big problems".
"First -- there is job loss among the masses. Traders and industries have been hugely affected with the closure of shops. People who have lost jobs are leaving the city. Many more want to leave. Delhi will not be able to bear this for too long," he said.
Secondly, because of the lockdown, the government is not able to get any revenue. "How will we pay salaries? How will the government function? Every year, in April we used to make at least Rs 3,500 crore revenue, this year, we have made only Rs 300 crore revenue. We can't pay salaries with this money," he added.
A bunch of key restrictions – on educational institutions, public transport, malls and markets, cinemas, hotels, restaurants, salons and beauty parlours, gymnasiums and swimming pools – however, will stay in place.
Religious places will remain closed and the ban on religious gatherings will remain.
People above the age of 65 and below 10, pregnant women, and those with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension should not go out of doors.