New Delhi, December 29
With a spike in Covid cases following the emergence of the Omicron variant, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday declared a ‘yellow alert’ under which schools, colleges, cinemas, and gyms will remain closed, shops dealing in non-essential items will open on the odd-even basis, and Metro trains and buses will run with 50 per cent of seating capacity in the city.
The ‘yellow alert’ is imposed when the Covid positivity rate stays above 0.50 per cent for two consecutive days. “The cases have been spiked but there has been no increase in consumption of oxygen or use of ventilators. Most of the patients are getting cured without hospitalisation as they have minor symptoms or are asymptomatic,” CM said during the online briefing. He also said that restrictions are being imposed to avoid this virus from entering anyone’s home and the government doesn’t want anyone to catch even fever or cold. The CM said: “I want the public to note that these restrictions are for their own safety.
While I understand that people are frustrated with having dealt with COVID restrictions time and again for over two years now. But we have no choice other than to take these measures for protecting our health and our lives.”
The GRAP had been approved by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority in July, in anticipation of a third wave of COVID-19 in Delhi. It was meant to have a clearer picture of imposition and lifting of restrictions according to the prevailing situation. Under the ‘yellow alert’, banquet halls, spas, outdoor yoga activity, amusement parks, stadia, swimming pools are also not allowed to function. Only one weekly market per municipal zone with 50 per cent of vendors is permitted to function.
The Level-1 alert allows construction, manufacturing activities, and the opening of shops and establishments of essential goods. The next level of alert, following ‘Yellow’, is coded with ‘Amber’ (L-2). It will come into force if the positivity rate rises above one per cent or new cases number 3,500 or oxygenated bed occupancy reach 700. The ‘Orange’ or L-3 alert will kick in if the positivity rate crosses two per cent or new cases number 9,000 or oxygenated bed occupancy becomes 1,000. The ‘Red’ alert (L-4) will be the highest level and will come into force if the positivity rate crosses five per cent or new cases rise to 16,000 or oxygenated bed occupancy reaches 3,000.
Under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), In accordance with level 1 alert, there would be a night curfew between 10 pm and 5 am and private offices will function with physical attendance of 50 per cent of the staff, barring essential categories.
Marriages and funerals will be allowed with an attendance of 20 people while all other types of gatherings related to social, political, cultural, religious, and festival events will be prohibited under the ‘yellow alert’ that came into force with immediate effect.
Shops of non-essential goods and services in markets and malls can open based on the odd-even formula from 10 am to 8 pm. Restaurants will be permitted with 50 per cent of capacity from 8 am to 10 pm while bars can also operate with the same capacity, but from noon to 10 pm.
The new restrictions come as the Capital on Tuesday reported nearly 500 fresh COVID cases in a day, with one more death and the daily positivity spiking to 0.89 per cent.
Active cases have now surged to over 1,600. The total number of cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID recorded in the capital has mounted to 165, according to data shared by the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. There were 67 Omicron cases in the national capital on Friday. Addressing an online press conference, CM said cases were rising fast in Delhi, but there was no need to panic as most people have mild symptoms.