Delhi imposes night curfew; schools & cinemas likely to be shut as next move

Delhi: 27 Dec, 2021 (Times of India)


NEW DELHI: In view of a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases this week in Delhi, a night curfew between 11pm and 5am has been imposed in the national capital from Monday, December 27.
Delhi reported 290 fresh cases on Sunday, up from 102 six days ago.

The test positivity rate crossed the 0.5% mark, taking Delhi to the cusp of the first level - the yellow alert - of a Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for imposing and lifting of restrictions. GRAP will come into force if the positivity rate remains above 0.5% on Monday.

Night curfew is also one of the measures laid down in GRAP.

Covid Tightens Grip, GRAP May Force Schools & Cinemas Shut

Even though GRAP calls for curfew from 10pm to 5am, sources in the Delhi government said that the current order had kept the curfew from 11pm. The graded action plan was approved by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in July this year to bring clarity on which activities are allowed under what circumstances in case of a surge in Covid-19 numbers.
There are four levels of GRAP, with colour-coded alerts called yellow, amber, orange and red. Different activities would be allowed with varying degrees of restrictions, with most activities being allowed with some curbs in level 1, and level 4 being almost close to a complete curfew. "The decision was taken in a high-level meeting on Sunday and the proposal was sent to the LG and DDMA chairman Anil Baijal for his approval," a senior Delhi government official said, adding that the proposal received the approval on Sunday evening.
A night curfew is already in place in neighbouring UP and Haryana between 11pm and 5am and is being imposed in Delhi. Sources said that the curfew would ensure that celebrations on the New Year's Eve and the days prior to it don't lead to any crowding or a super spreader event. "We expect the night curfew to curb the spread of the infection to an extent before other restrictions come into place," he said.

After the night curfew, if GRAP comes into effect, the activities that would immediately close are schools, colleges and any educational, training or coaching institution, cinema halls, multiplexes, banquet halls, auditoriums, assembly halls, spas and wellness clinics, gyms and yoga institutes, entertainment parks, amusement parks, water parks etc. Sports complexes and swimming pools would also remain closed except for national or international sporting events.

While no social, entertainment, religious, political or festival-related gathering is allowed even now as per the latest DDMA guidelines, religious places would remain open, but no visitors would be allowed. Private offices would be allowed to open with 50% staff from 9am to 5pm during imposition of first and second levels, which would also see Delhi Metro being allowed to operate with 50%, and then 33%, seating capacity and no standing passengers, while bus travel would only be allowed for those in exempted categories.

While shops dealing in essential goods would be allowed during all levels of GRAP, those dealing in non-essential goods and malls would be allowed in odd-even manner between 10am and 8pm, and 10am and 6pm, during first two levels, while only standalone shops would be allowed between 10am and 6pm in the orange and red levels.

Restaurants and bars would only be allowed to open with 50% capacity during the yellow alert for a specified time. While restaurants are allowed to run home deliveries or takeaways in the later three levels, bars would remain closed. Up to 20 persons would be allowed for marriage gatherings and funerals in the first two levels and 15 persons in the latter two. A night curfew was previously imposed in Delhi in the month of April to restrict the movement of individuals between 11pm and 5am, except for certain categories of individuals who were exempted by the DDMA.

It is expected that government officials engaged in essential services and healthcare personnel from the private sector would be allowed to travel on production of a valid ID card. Pregnant women and patients requiring health services would also be exempted, apart from those travelling from or to the airport, railway stations or ISBT, on production of valid tickets.

Individuals who work in commercial and private establishments that provide essential goods and services are also likely to be exempt. This includes those working in shops dealing with food items or medicine and medical equipment, those working at banks, telecom and IT-enabled services, delivery of all essential goods through e-commerce, fuel stations, power sector, manufacturing units of essential commodities, etc.