lhi to lift weekend curfew, reopen schools as Covid-19 cases decline? DDMA to decide today

New Delhi: Amid demands of lifting weekend curfew and odd-even rule for shops, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will meet on Thursday (January 27, 2022) to review the pandemic situation in the city.

Delhi’s apex Covid-19 management body DDMA’s meeting is going to be chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal and is going to take place at 12:30 pm today.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is also likely to attend the meeting that will discuss relaxations that may be allowed in view of improvement in the Covid-19 situation in the Capital.

Last Friday, the Delhi government had proposed lifting the weekend curfew and ending the odd-even scheme for opening shops in the city as the Covid-19 situation improved but Lieutenant Governor Baijal suggested maintaining the status quo on the restrictions till the situation improved further.

The LG office, however, had approved the government’s proposal to allow private offices to function with 50 percent staff strength.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had said the decision to ease the restrictions was taken in view of the declining number of Covid cases in the city and also to ensure that the livelihood of the public is not affected.

“Now since the cases are going down and it also seems that the peak has gone, we want to ensure that the public’s livelihood continues smoothly. We have proposed to do away with weekend curfew and also with the odd-even arrangement of the opening of shops in markets,” Sisodia had said.

Will schools in Delhi reopen soon?
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said the matter of reopening of schools will be discussed with the DDMA. The Delhi government will recommend the reopening of schools in the national capital in the DDMA meeting as it has now become necessary to prevent further damage to the social and emotional well-being of children, said Sisodia.

Delhi’s Deputy CM also emphasised that online education can never replace offline education, adding that the government had closed schools when it was not safe for children, but excessive caution is now harming students.

Sisodia further stated that the Covid-19 pandemic-induced school closures have not only affected their studies but also their mental health. “During COVID, our priority was children’s safety. But since various researches have now found that COVID is not so harmful for kids, it is important to reopen the schools, as now is the time for exams and related preparations,” Sisodia said.

Delhi traders protest for removal of curbs
Meanwhile, traders in many parts of the national capital have also been protesting against the restrictions and demanded the curbs be lifted, including those imposed on shops selling non-essential items being permitted to open on alternate days based on the odd-even system.

Covid-19 curbs and cases in Delhi
The capital city witnesses weekend curfew from 10 pm on Friday to Monday 5 am. The decision to impose a weekend curfew was taken by the DDMA on January 1 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the city.

The DDMA had also imposed other restrictions including the closure of all private offices dealing with non-essential services. A night curfew during weekdays is already in place from 10 pm to 5 am.

The national capital reported 7,498 fresh COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths in a day as the positivity rate rose marginally to 10.59 per cent, according to the health department’s data on Wednesday.