New Delhi: All schools in Delhi will resume in-person classes from April 1, and all other Covid-19 restrictions in the city will be lifted from Monday, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal and the Minister announced on Friday. Chief Arvind Kejriwal – a decision that came amid a sustained drop in the daily number of infections and test positivity rate, as well as demands from schools and business owners.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) decision means there will be no more nighttime curfews in the city, while restaurants, cinemas, banquet halls and public transport systems can operate at full capacity. Students at the school will no longer be able to attend online classes and will be required to attend in-person classes beginning April 1, state government officials told HT on Friday, although the The agency did not issue a formal order on the decisions until it was time to leave. to print.
This is the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 that the capital will be freed from Covid-induced restrictions.
The DDMA has also reduced the fine for failing to meet the mask standards of ₹2,000 to ₹500, according to officials. He stressed, however, that people will still need to follow Covid-appropriate behavior, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Kejriwal tweeted on Friday that the decisions were made due to hardship caused by the loss of jobs.
“DDMA is removing all restrictions as the situation improves n people facing hardship due to job loss…Schools will operate fully offline from April 1…Fines for not wearing of masks reduced to ₹500…All shuds continue to follow proper covid behavior. Government will exercise strict oversight,” Kejriwal tweeted.
“After extensive discussions with experts, considering the decline in Covid-19 positive cases and hospitalizations, it has been decided to remove all Covid-19 related restrictions in Delhi from 28th February 2022, while adhering to the guidelines issued by the Government of India and ensuring compliance with appropriate Covid behavior, including wearing masks and maintaining social distancing,” LG office Anil Baijal said in a statement after the meeting of the DDMA The LG is the chairman of the DDMA, while Kejriwal is the vice-chairman.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi has been falling for weeks now as the city’s fifth wave of infections, fueled by the Omicron variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, began to ease towards the end of January this year. The city added 460 Covid-19 cases on Friday, corresponding to a test positivity rate of 0.81% (the lowest since 0.68% on December 27 last year).
The city has averaged 523 cases per day over the past week, compared to the peak of 23,529 cases averaged over the seven days ending Jan. 15.
At the height of the fifth wave of infections, infections in Delhi peaked at 28,867 cases on January 13, while the test positivity rate peaked at 30.6% a day later.
The first set of curbs came into effect on December 28 last year as infections began to climb. Since then, the city has been under a series of restrictions, including a nighttime curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., a full weekend curfew, even as restaurants, bars, establishments schools and religious places were closed, while market shops had to operate on an even-odd basis.
Several of these restrictions have been lifted in recent weeks (including the one-hour reduction in the nighttime curfew), but the government has continued to persist with some restrictions, which experts say were disproportionate given lower cases, as well as the milder symptoms caused by the Omicron variant.
Two senior government officials with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that the nighttime curfew will only be in place until 5 a.m. Monday. Restaurants, bars and cinemas will be allowed to operate at full capacity, while markets and shopping malls, including shops dealing in non-essential items, will be allowed to remain open past 8 p.m. from Monday. These can remain open even beyond 11 p.m., since the night curfew is now lifted. As for weddings and other social events, the rule of only operating up to 50% capacity in banquet halls will also be scrapped from Monday, and in open spaces weddings and other events may have more than 200 people.
In a major relief for commuters, the Delhi Metro and state-run buses are now allowed to carry passengers at their capacity as the rule banning standing passengers has been lifted. Auto rickshaws and taxis can now carry more than two passengers.
Schools in Delhi welcomed the decision to move all classes offline, but urged the DDMA to consider asking all students to return from March 1, instead of April 1.
The Action Committee for Recognized Private Schools Without Aid, an umbrella body of more than 2,000 schools, said it would write to LG in this regard.
“This will not only allow schools to resume smoothly but will also allow students and parents to regain confidence before the start of the new session,” said a statement from the body.
Dr Nikhil Modi, consultant at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said that with cases and the positivity rate having dropped significantly, now was the perfect time to remove all the brakes. “It seems logical to open things up now and we should go ahead with the same. However, keep in mind that Covid is still not over, we cannot let our guard down and in As individuals, it is the duty of each of us to continue to take all precautions in terms of vaccination, mask-wearing, disinfection and social distancing in order to keep covid in check,” he said. he declares.
Yogeshwar Sharma, executive director of Select Infrastructure Private Limited, which manages the Select Citywalk mall, said: “The lifting of restrictions is a welcome step, given the drop in cases. While we still need to be on our toes, the opening of movie theaters and the lifting of the nighttime curfew will allow all involved to establish a much needed sense of normalcy. It will also help to bring back the positive feelings of the consumers. We look forward to welcoming all guests back with meticulous Covid protocols and care.
Swimming pools, parks, gyms, yoga centers and spas have already been opened in the city, according to the latest DDMA order, issued Feb. 4.