Delhi to start 'unlocking' from Monday; factory, construction activities allowed
From Monday morning, Delhi will start "unlocking" from its COVID-19 lockdown, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday, adding that construction and factory-related work will resume next week. The decision was taken after a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). The meeting was attended by Kejriwal, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, the Delhi Chief Secretary, and other concerned officials.
Need to balance managing COVID-19, economy: Kejriwal
"Coronavirus infections are steadily declining in Delhi," Kejriwal said, attributing the success to the residents. "Now is the time to slowly 'unlock,' lest it happens that people die of hunger, not COVID-19," he said, adding that we need to strike a balance between controlling COVID-19 and continuing economic activities. The ongoing lockdown is scheduled to be lifted at 5 am on Monday (May 31).
Factory, construction-related activities to be resumed next week
Kejriwal noted that migrant laborers and daily-wage earners, who work in construction and factories, are some of the most vulnerable groups. Hence, factory and construction-related activities will be resumed as Delhi unlocks next week. Guidelines will be issued to regulate these activities, he said.
'Unlocking will stop if COVID-19 cases rise again'
The lockdown will continue to be eased slowly over time, provided the number of infections continues to decline. "If COVID-19 cases increase, we will have to stall the resumption of activities," Kejriwal said, stressing that the "battle has not been won." He urged people to continue following COVID-19 protocol and stay at home to ensure that the gains of the lockdown are not lost.
Delhi under lockdown since April 19
Delhi's lockdown first came into force on April 19. At the time, Kejriwal had said the curbs would be lifted after six days. Every successive week since, the lockdown has been extended for seven days. It was even made stricter with the suspension of Delhi Metro services on May 10. All gatherings remain banned, while malls, cinema halls, restaurants (for dine-in), etc., were shut.
Delhi records 1,100 new cases, 1.5% positivity rate
Kejriwal said, "In the past 24 hours, Delhi has observed a test positivity rate of 1.5% and roughly 1,100 new infections." "Now, there is no issue regarding the availability of hospital beds. Several ICU and oxygen beds have been vacated," he added. Of Delhi's total 14,22,549 cases, 16,378 cases involve active infections, according to data available till Thursday evening. The death toll is 23,812.