Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Minister of Delhi, in a press briefing on May 3, urged the Government of India to lift the lockdown in the Capital by saying that both the government and the citizens will have to learn to live with the COVID-19 and that the lockdown – although important to prevent transmission – was now causing a grave economic crisis. The CM added that the move may lead to an increase in number of cases but the healthcare infra in Delhi is prepared for it.
The CM further said that the Government of Delhi has asked the Centre that the areas other than the 97 containment zones in the city should be declared green zones. However, the containment zones should remain sealed, he added. Kejriwal said that this is necessary to ease the suffering of the people and also to ensure the economy gets back on track, which is necessary for the government itself to function.
All of Delhi is currently a “red zone” – where restrictions on activities are the most severe. The decision to relax the classification of an administrative jurisdiction rests with the Centre.
He spoke about the significance of lockdown and said that it was the Centre’s proactive approach and the strict imposition of the lockdown that the situation is under control. However, he said that now it is time that the lockdown should be lifted at least in those areas where the COVID-19 cases have not surfaced. The lockdown had created two major difficulties. “People are losing livelihoods. Traders can’t open their shops. There is no industrial activity. More jobs are being lost. Many people will leave Delhi soon. This has shaken the entire economic architecture, which, in turn, caused the second crisis. “Since the economy is closed, the government is not getting any revenues. In April, every year, the government used to receive Rs 3,500 crore in revenues. Last month, we got Rs 300 crore. How will we pay salaries? How will we run the government?”, he added.
The CM stressed upon the fact that people need to understand that COVID-19 is going to stay with us. “We will not see a situation now where there are no cases…We have made adequate arrangements. We have enough testing kits. We have hospitals”, said the CM.
As per the health department, Delhi currently has close to 3,000 beds reserved for Covid-19 patients in several state and central government hospitals, and an additional 420 beds in private hospitals. The previous month, the CM said that the government has a plan to gradually increase the requirement of beds in hospitals, hotels and guest houses to 30,000 depending on the rise in cases. There are 306 ventilators in public hospitals in the city and about 800 more in private, Delhi government officials said.
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