Buses, cabs to run with limited passengers in 4th phase: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced certain relaxations in transportation in the city in the fourth phase of lockdown till May 31.

Buses will be allowed to run with not more than 20 passengers, while autorickshaws and e-rickshaws will ply with one passenger each. Taxis will be allowed to ferry only two passengers. Gramin, phat-phat and eco-friendly sevas will also be allowed with only two passengers. Maxi cabs will be allowed with five passengers and RTVs will be allowed to ferry 11. However, metro services will remain suspended during the period.

Mr. Kejriwal reiterated that the lockdown was not a permanent solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and relaxations had to be announced to revive the economy.

“The fourth phase of the lockdown is starting. People have dedicatedly followed the norms of the lockdown and I am sure that we will together defeat the novel coronavirus,” he said.

Schools, theatres closed

Educational institutions such as schools, colleges, coaching and training institutes will remain closed. Shopping malls, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls will also not operate during the fourth phase, said Mr. Kejriwal.

“Social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, and other gatherings will not be allowed. Religious places and places of worship will remain closed. Barbershops, spas, and salons will remain closed. Curfew timings in the city will be from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., except for essential services,” he said.

Senior citizens, children below the age of 10, pregnant women and people with health issues such as heart diseases and diabetes will remain under “strict lockdown”, said the Chief Minister.

He said the pandemic and the circumstances arising out of it were not going to get over until a vaccine was discovered and people had to learn to live with it.

Mr. Kejriwal said the relaxations in lockdown restrictions are in accordance with the Centre’s guidelines. “Yesterday [Sunday], the Central government has issued certain guidelines on the lockdown. Based on those guidelines, the Delhi government has decided to allow relaxations in many areas,” he said.

Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, he said, was mandatory for all and people must wash and sanitise their hands as frequently as possible. He said the Delhi government was “using the lockdown time to prepare to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Delhi, he said, has reported 10,054 COVID-19 cases until now, and 4,485 of them have recovered, which means 45% of the people have been cured. Though 160 people have lost their lives to the virus, but compared to other States in India and abroad, the death rate is “quite low”, he added.

Elaborating on the transportation relaxations, he said, “The driver has to ensure the disinfection of the passenger seat after each drop-off for the safety of the next passenger. Car-pooling will not be allowed for cab aggregators. Screening of each passenger will be done before boarding the bus,” he said.

The movement of private vehicles will be allowed with not more than two passengers on a four-wheeled vehicle and not more than one rider on a two-wheeler.

All private and government offices will remain open, but maximum private offices shall allow work from home for their employees. All markets will be opened, he said, but the shops there will operate on an odd-even basis.

Only take-away and home deliveries will be allowed and dine-in arrangements will be barred in restaurants. Sports complexes and stadiums will be opened but no spectators will be alowed during matches and events.

“Essential items shops will be opened. All standalone, neighborhood and residential shops will be opened, where the responsibility to maintain social distancing will lie with the shopkeeper,” he said.

“Industries will operate on a staggered timing basis. Construction activities will be allowed with the engagement of workers living in Delhi, and non-engagement of trans-border workers,” said Mr. Kejriwal.

Marriages will be allowed with a maximum of 50 people, and funerals will be allowed with a maximum of 20 people, and both events should ensure proper social distancing.

As per the central government guidelines, healthcare staff such as doctors, nurses, medical staff, and sanitation workers will be allowed to pass through the borders. Inter-State movements of goods and cargo trucks will also be allowed, he said.

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