Private offices in Delhi closed till further orders

An RT-PCR test being conducted in the Capital on Tuesday.  SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

An RT-PCR test being conducted in the Capital on Tuesday. SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

All private offices have been asked to shut down, in addition to restaurants and bars in the Capital, by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA).

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the decision to step up restrictions was taken considering the health of the citizens. He said the Delhi government was not in favour of imposing a lockdown and would lift the current restrictions “as soon as possible”.

All private offices, except those falling under the exempted category such as medical establishments, financial institutions, transportation and courier services, among others, were asked to shut down premises with immediate effect till further orders by the DDMA. The offices, which were till now operating with 50% work force, were instructed to follow the practice of work from home. Restaurants have been allowed to extend takeaway and home delivery services.

After taking stock of the medical infrastructure at Lok Nayak Hospital later in the day, Mr. Kejriwal said the Delhi government was “completely prepared” to deal with what continued to be a dynamic situation and would increase the number of dedicated COVID beds in the city to 37,000 and ICU beds to between 10,000 and 11,000.

15% bed occupancy

As of January 11, there were 14,762 COVID beds, 13,768 oxygen beds, 4,192 COVID ICU beds and 1,890 COVID ICU beds with ventilators ready in city hospitals.

Government sources told The Hindu that though hospital bed occupancy was increasing slightly on a daily basis – it was above 15% on Tuesday – it remained “well below” the average occupancy of 20% recorded during the second wave of infection in April-May last year.

Despite this, a senior government official said, private hospitals have been given the go-ahead to increase the number of COVID beds by 25% if they feel the need to do so.

Meanwhile, COVID Care Centres are mostly lying vacant — only 561 of over 5,000 beds at 23 centres are currently occupied. These are currently serving as quarantine centres for both international passengers as well as citizens who do not have adequate isolation facilities at home. The CCCs also have oxygen and intensive care facilities, the offcial said.

“These restrictions were imposed under compulsion. I understand that we have to maintain a very delicate balance at this time. On the one hand, it concerns the employment of people, if restrictions are imposed people’s jobs will be jeopardised. On the other hand, if we do not impose limitations, your health and life will be jeopardised,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“I want to reassure you that we will reduce the restrictions as soon as feasible and aim to impose the fewest restrictions possible. Right now, no one can say anything with certainty. We will not be imposing a lockdown. However, this does not rule out the possibility of a further rise (in COVID cases). Let’s keep our fingers crossed. We are prepared for any eventuality," he said.

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 8:39:36 pm |