The Ministry of Defence has made special arrangements for the 74th Independence Day celebrations at Red Fort tomorrow with special emphasis on the COVID-19 protocols. The Independence Day Flag Hoisting Ceremony at Red Fort is being organised maintaining the balance between the sanctity and dignity of the National function while factoring in precautions related to the COVID-19 scenario, the Ministry of Defence said in a press release issued today.
Compared to the past, about 20 per cent VVIPs or other participants will be able to witness Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation from ramparts of the historic fort. With an eye on safety, NCC Cadets have been invited to witness the event instead of young school children.
Special arrangements have been made to ensure seamless movement of the attendees. Additional door frame metal detectors, with adequately spaced markings, have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees.
In order to sensitize the invitees towards COVID related safety measures, specific Advisory for following the COVID-19 related guidelines has been issued along with each invitation card. A request card for the invitee to exhibit restraint and patience while leaving the venue would be placed on each seat. An announcement in this connection will be made from the commentary booth from time to time. "The guiding principle for seating has been "Do Gaz kiDoori" (or 6 feet between any two guests seated) for the event," the Ministry of Defence said.
Ceremonial drills have also factored due social distancing norms as well as other precautionary measures. Members of the Guard of Honour have been under quarantine to bring in safety.
Adequate medical booths have also been set up at four locations to cater to any attendee who is detected having any symptoms related to COVID-19 during entry. Ambulances would also be stationed at these four locations.
Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned. Thorough sanitization of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis.
All invitees have been requested to wear masks. In addition, adequate number of suitable masks will be available for distribution at various points of venue. Similarly, availability of hand sanitizers at pre-defined locations has been done. Display boards are placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees.
The security arrangements, however, will be as stringent as they are every year. The police personnel involved in frisking would also don personal protection equipment (PPE) kits, the police had said.
The Independence Day event witnesses attendance of ministers, senior political leaders, top officials of different ministries and diplomats. Even the general public is allowed to attend.
This time, however, there was also a proposal to not allow the general public at the event and instead have 1,500 corona warriors, including 500 police personnel who have recovered from the infection, attend it.
The event at the Red Fort will consist of a guard of honour by the armed forces and the Delhi Police to the prime minister, unfurling of the national flag and firing of the 21-gun salute, address by the prime minister, singing of the national anthem immediately after the speech and release of tricoloured balloons at the end.