Delhi's borders sealed for one week, announces Arvind Kejriwal
On Monday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that borders of the National Capital will remain sealed for one week, amid the rising cases of coronavirus. The border will be opened only for essential services and those having government-approved passes. In the guidelines of Unlock 1.0, the federal government permitted inter-state travel but left it on local authorities to take the decision after assessment.
Kejriwal's announcement came hours after the Haryana government lifted the ban from interstate and intra-state travel, allowing movement along the Delhi-Gurugram border. However, a huge traffic jam was reported at the border as commuters weren't allowed to move without a pass. A person told ANI he was following the state government's order but was stopped by officials. This happened before Kejriwal's announcement.
Defending the decision, Kejriwal said the border was sealed to help hospitals handle the surge in COVID-19 cases. "The moment we open the borders, people from across the country will come to Delhi for treatment. Delhi's hospitals should be reserved for the people of Delhi. At the same time, Delhi belongs to the country, how can it refuse to treat anyone?" he asked.
The CM also let barbershops, salons, and all markets to open in Delhi. However, spas will remain shut for now. These establishments were closed since March when the countrywide lockdown was enforced to keep a check on coronavirus transmission. Delhi's tally stands at 19,844 with 473 dying of the virus. With these numbers, Delhi is now the third worst-hit state in India.
About shops, Kejriwal said they were following an odd-even rule earlier, but since the Centre didn't mention it, all shops can function. The previous restriction of allowing only a specific number of people in autos, e-rickshaws, and other vehicles was also lifted, for no apparent reason. "Now we are lifting the restrictions on the number of passengers traveling in auto, e-rickshaws, etc.," Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the administration of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida), declared that the border with Delhi would remain sealed. It has been closed for weeks now, with just the movement of essential services allowed. Defending the decision, the administration said 42% of the COVID-19 cases in Noida in the last 20 days were traced to the National Capital. Delhi-Ghaziabad border will also remain closed.