Delhi Announces Strict New Covid Curbs On Restaurants, Theatres, Travel

The restrictions come days after Delhi ordered a night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am amid a massive spike in coronavirus cases.

Delhi has seen a huge surge in coronavirus cases in the past few weeks.

New Delhi:

The Delhi government on Saturday announced new restrictions amid an alarming rise in coronavirus cases, banning most public gatherings and setting limits for attendance at restaurants, theatres, on public transport and functions like weddings and funerals.

The new rules which will stay in place till April 30, along with the earlier announced 10-pm-to-5-am night curfew, include a ban on all types of social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious gatherings in Delhi.

Only 50 people will be allowed to attend weddings and not more than 20 at funerals.

Restaurants, bars and cinemas will operate at 50 per cent of their seating capacity.

Buses and metros will also take only half as many people as they can seat.

All swimming pools except those where sportspersons are training for national and international events will be closed.

Stadiums can hold sports events but without spectators.

Schools and colleges were already asked to close down earlier this week.

Government offices will work at 50 per cent capacity as well except for high-level Grade 1 officers.

However, the health department, police, home guard civil defence, fire and emergency services and district administrations will continue to work without any restrictions.

Private companies have been advised to call their employees at staggered timings to avoid crowding. Work from home should be encouraged as much as possible.

All passengers coming from Maharashtra, the worst-affected state, by plane will have to show a negative RT-PCR test report, not older than 72 hours, for entering Delhi.

Those who come from Maharashtra without a negative test report will be quarantined for 14 days. People linked to government work will be exempted.

The announcements come hours after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal ruled out the possibility of a lockdown but said that new restrictions will be implemented soon.

Delhi reported 7,897 new coronavirus cases and 39 deaths in the last 24 hours on Saturday, taking its overall tally to over 7.1 lakh.

On Friday, the city had reported over 8,500 new infections in the year's biggest one-day spike.

India's daily coronavirus cases on Saturday rose by a record for the fifth time this week and deaths surged to the highest in more than five months, with hospitals and crematoriums overflowing in parts of the country.

New cases in the world's second-most populous country have totalled the most of anywhere in the world over the last two weeks. India's overall tally of 1.32 crore is the third-highest globally, just shy of Brazil and below the worst affected country, the United States.

The second surge in infections, which has spread much more rapidly than the first one that peaked in September, has forced many states to impose fresh curbs but Prime Minister Narendra Modi not ordered national lockdown given the high economic costs.