Amid surge in Omicron cases, yellow alert issued in Delhi

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Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday said restrictions under the yellow alert for Covid will be implemented in the national capital, Indian Express reported.

The restrictions under the Covid Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) include shutting all educational institutions, capping wedding and funeral gatherings to 20, reducing seat occupancy in Delhi Metro and buses to 50%, among other things.

According to GRAP, which was notified by the government in August this year, different restrictions are supposed to come into force if cases, positivity rate or hospitalisations increase beyond certain limits.

The yellow alert is issued when the city sees a positivity rate of over 0.5% for two consecutive days, cases cross 1,500 in a week, or average occupancy of oxygen beds in hospitals remains 500 for a week.

Delhi had a positivity rate of 0.55% on Sunday and 0.68% on Monday.

“Over the past few days cases have been going up but there is no need to worry and panic. We are mostly seeing mild and asymptomatic cases and there is no need for hospitalisation in these cases. Most patients admitted in hospitals do not need oxygen or ICUs… But we do not want the disease to spread and you to fall ill… We had earlier notified GRAP to deal with an increase in cases. It was drawn up in a scientific manner and would aid simpler implementation,” Kejriwal said.

As per the plan, shops in markets and malls dealing with non-essential goods and services will be allowed to open as per the odd-even formula between 10 am to 8 pm, while one weekly market will be allowed per municipal zone at half the capacity of vendors. Shops selling essential items will remain open on all days.

Restaurants will operate at 50 per cent capacity between 8 am – 10 pm, bars will open between 12-10 pm also at 50 per cent capacity. Schools, educational institutions, cinemas, banquet halls, auditoriums, spas, gyms and entertainment parks will remain shut.

Delhi Metro and buses will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity. Delhi government offices will call 100% grade I officers, while private firms will be allowed to call 50% staff between 9 am to 5 pm. Gyms and yoga centres will also shut. There will be a complete ban on social/entertainment/religious/political/festival-related gatherings. Sports complexes, stadiums (except national/international sports events), entertainment parks will shut down.

At marriages and funeral-related gatherings, 20 persons each will be allowed. But banquet halls will not be allowed to host weddings.

Kejriwal also said that the government will be forced to close markets if crowding continues and Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed.

“We are 10 times more prepared than last time. But we do not want any of you to fall ill. That is why we appeal to you to wear masks, we have to be responsible. We are disheartened when we see crowding at markets and malls. We will have to shut down markets if this continues. None of us wants that. If you won’t take care of yourselves, who will? We don’t want you to fall ill… These restrictions are being imposed for you. I know you all are tired of restrictions, but it is important and there is nothing we can do about it,” the CM said.

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