The Delhi government has allowed opening of bars from Monday and extended the timing for restaurants by two hours as part of the lifting of anti-Covid restrictions. Public parks, gardens, golf clubs and outdoor yoga activities have also been allowed by the Arvind Kejriwal government.
Bars will be able to open from noon to 10 pm with 50 per cent seating capacity, the Delhi government said in a fresh order. Restaurants can stay open from 8 am to 10 pm, instead of the current 10 am to 8 pm.
The fresh phase of relaxation comes amid warnings by doctors and public health experts about the risks of a rapid unlock.
Despite the ravages of the second wave of the virus in April and May, in which thousands died and the healthcare system practically collapsed, especially in Delhi, the public disregard for safety norms has not changed, they said.
Dr Randeep Guleria, chief of Delhi's All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and a member of the Centre's Covid Task Force, has told NDTV that a third wave of Covid in India is "inevitable", and it may hit the country sooner rather than later -- within six to eight weeks.
"As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don't seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up... people are gathering. It will take some time for the number of cases to start rising at the national level," Dr Guleria told NDTV.
"A third wave is inevitable and it could hit the country within the next six to eight weeks... may be a little longer... It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds," he said.
Delhi has seen one of the worst outbreaks over April and May with an explosion of cases. People died at homes and outside hospitals amid a huge shortage of beds, drugs and oxygen. Crematoriums and graveyards ran out of space.