Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain atten…Read More
NEW DELHI: Putting an end to speculation that Delhi may witness another lockdown, Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday his government had no such plan. “Many people are speculating whether another lockdown in Delhi is being planned. There are no such plans,” the chief minister tweeted. This is in line with his earlier observation that we have to learn to live with Covid-19 and economic activity needs to be back on track.
Rumours of another lockdown had started floating with Covid-19 cases spiralling in the capital. What’s worrying health experts is that the cases in Delhi are growing at a rate of 5.2% (seven-day average) as against the country’s average of 3.8%.
Recognising the urgent need to scale up the city’s preparedness to fight the pandemic, Union home minister Amit Shah held two meetings with various stakeholders on Sunday, following it up with an all-party meeting on Monday. He gave an unequivocal message to the parties to sink their political differences and help in implementing the decisions arrived at the Sunday meeting.
This will add the much-needed muscle to the fight against the disease even as the city returns to a semblance of normal life. The uncertainty had led to shopkeepers and owners of other establishments like restaurants becoming jittery, and there were reports that the migrant labourers were getting ready to flee the city in panic.
The CM’s clarification came a day after Press Information Bureau dismissed rumours on social media that there would be a “strict lockdown” from June 18 for four weeks in Delhi-NCR. Calling the post “fake”, the PIB, through its fact check Twitter handle said on Sunday said that no such plan was under consideration, warning people against “rumour mongers”.
After 10 weeks of a countrywide lockdown starting March 25, the Centre took its first steps towards reviving the economy by easing restrictions across the country from June 1. Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had also rejected the possibility of another lockdown last Friday. He called the idea of imposing another lockdown as “illogical”, acknowledging that the number of coronavirus cases would continue to increase.
“When the lockdown was imposed, there were a hundred cases across the country, and now that number has gone up to thousands. Even if we impose a lockdown again, the cases will still increase from 2.5 lakh to 25 lakh,” Jain had said.
The Delhi government and the Centre are now on the same page in the city’s fight against the disease. The home minister told the all-party meeting on Monday that the Central government will take all necessary steps to check the spread of Covid-19 in Delhi. “We all have to stand united under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this fight against the pandemic,” he stressed.
Shah called on the parties to mobilise their workers to help implement the decisions taken by the Centre for the “welfare of the people of Delhi”. He appealed to all the parties to rise above political differences in the interest of the people. “Political unity will create confidence among the public and lead to improvement in the pandemic situation in the capital,” he said. The home minister spoke of improving testing capacity for Covid-19 with newer techniques.
The meeting was attended by Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta and state Congress president Anil Chaudhary besides others. The functionaries of the three parties also gave proposals for the fight against Covid-19 and assured full support to the Centre, Delhi government and the three municipal corporations.
Gupta later said that testing, tracing and treatment were discussed in detail at the meeting. “We have suggested that the testing fee should be halved in Delhi. On the issue of putting a cap on hospital charges for treating corona patients, we were told that the Dr Paul committee would submit its report on this on Tuesday. Only after that will the cost of corona treatment in private hospitals be fixed,” said Gupta.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh called the meeting “meaningful” and said the focus was on the arrangements required to be made to fight coronavirus. “There was also a discussion on increasing the number of beds. From June 20, around 18,000 tests will be done every day,” he said.
Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said he gave 11 suggestions to the home minister for “effective tackling” of the Covid crisis. He alleged that the Centre and Delhi governments have woken up to the seriousness of the situation when it is already out of control. “Schools and college hostels should be converted into isolation centres and three upcoming Delhi government hospitals with a combined bed strength of 2609 should be thrown open to Covid patients to make up for the shortage of beds,” he said.
BJP general secretary (Organisation) Siddharthan and the leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, also attended the meeting.