No night curfew in Delhi as of now, govt. informs High Court

Health workers conducting rapid antigen test on residents in north Delhi on December 02, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The Delhi government on Thursday informed the High Court that it was not going to impose night curfew in the Capital to curb the spread of COVID-19 as of now.

The Delhi government, however, said it has issued order on November 28 to maintain the status-quo with respect to permitted or restricted activities in the Capital, including celebrating festivals, marriages, inter-State movement of buses, etc. till December 31.

The government’s submission came in response to a query posed by a Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad last week, whether it would impose night curfew, as done in some other States.

50% cap on attendance

The government also submitted that there is a 50% cap on the attendance of employees (below Grade-I) of non-essential services, departments of Delhi government, Corporations, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and local bodies here. The private establishments have also been advised to consider staggered office timings and also reduce the number of employees attending office at the same time, it added.

Fines collected

The court, however, said: “It is unclear from the status report as to how much impact would this order actually have on a real-time basis as it does not cover Central government employees and is only recommendatory in nature qua private establishments.”

The Delhi government has so far collected fines to the tune of ₹17.93 crore against 2,37,907 challans issued in respect of COVID-19 violations. The Delhi police, too, have collected ₹27.68 crore fine against 5,47,394 challans.

While the fines collected from the challans are deposited in the government treasury, the same money is not directly used for incurring any specific expenditure, including Covid-19 infection. As per the prevailing procedures, all expenditure in any department has to be incurred from the budget allocations approved through legislative procedures.

In its status report, the government said Delhi has 593 crematoriums, of which 415 are dedicated to COVID-19 deaths.

“A total of 1,265 patients who succumbed to COVID-19 have been cremated/buried in October and 2,787 patients who have succumbed to the disease have been cremated/buried in November,” the report said.

While the death rate is currently just below 100, the court said, “It needs to climb down further.”

The Delhi government said between November 25 and December 1, 5,28,670 tests have been conducted out of which 2,48,700 have been done by adopting the RAT method and 2,46,635 through RT-PCR and other methods.

It said the positivity rate is above 5%. “To keep an unabated check on the spread of COVID-19 infection, the level of testing cannot be reduced. Efforts must be made to trace the contacts of persons who have tested positive and ensure that persons who are symptomatic and in home quarantine, adhere to the guidelines prescribed by the ICMR,” the High Court said.

It directed the Delhi government to state the measures that are being taken to ensure proper follow-up on contact tracing and to ensure that persons who are home quarantined, do not violate the isolation regime.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 6:57:35 PM |

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