The curfew in Delhi is only for this weekend and will be extended to the next weekend only if needed after a reassessment, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said today. In an exclusive interview to NDTV, he also ruled out any lockdown in Delhi unless the medical infrastructure failed to handle the pressure of cases.
"Weekend curfew is only for this weekend. It will start from 10 pm on Friday to 5 am on Monday. For now, it is just for this weekend. If there is a need at a later date, we will extend it at that time," said Mr Kejriwal, one of the guests at "The Solutions Summit: India Vs Covid".
He announced earlier today that Delhi will shut down on the weekend to "break the chain of transmission" as it tackles a steep rise in Covid cases -- Delhi reported 17,282 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday in the highest single-day surge in the capital since the pandemic erupted. The figure makes Delhi the worst-hit city in the second wave of infections raging through the country.
On the possibility of a lockdown, Mr Kejriwal said there was no such plan for now.
"As of now, as of today, there is no plan for a lockdown, but we must keep in mind that our medical infrastructure needs to be ahead of the Covid spread. Should there be a situation where we see the number of cases catching up with the number of beds, and other medical infrastructure, we may take a call on imposing a lockdown at that time," he said, adding that with the increase in the number of beds, that scenario looked unlikely.
The Chief Minister said while he did not approve of lockdowns and restrictions, the extraordinary pace at which Covid cases were spreading required action.
"I am strictly against lockdowns and restrictions. Lockdowns and restrictions won't end corona, only slow down the speed of transmission. When the infection is spreading this fast, a temporary lockdown and restrictions are needed so that the health infrastructure can be managed. The speed at which corona is spreading is extraordinary and the infrastructure can collapse," he said.
During the weekend curfew, essential activities will be allowed with passes. Auditoriums, restaurants, malls, gyms and spas will be shut down and movie theatres will be allowed with a third of their capacity on weekdays.
Eating out is banned and only home deliveries and takeaways are allowed. Weekly markets will continue but with restrictions - one market will be allowed on any day at a given zone.
All gatherings -- social, religious or political - stand banned. The number of people at weddings will be limited to 50 and only 20 people will be allowed at funerals.