Nightclubs shut, 50-plus gatherings banned in Delhi over coronavirus
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday invoked the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 to impose a complete ban on social, religious and political gatherings of more than 50 people in the national capital. Weddings are permitted, for now, said Kejriwal. But he appealed to people to put off the weddings also if they can.
The ban, effective immediately, will also cover protests including the one against the amended citizenship law that has continued for more than two months at Shaheen Bagh. The rule will apply for all gatherings of 50 or more.
“If still protestors or other groups continue to gather in large numbers, then appropriate actions under the Epidemic Disease Act will be taken by the area District Magistrates (Deputy Commissioners), SDMs,” he said.
“We have already shut schools, colleges, swimming pools so far. Today, it has been decided to order gyms, night clubs and spas also to close as a precautionary measure,” Kejriwal told a news conference after a review of the steps taken by the city government to prevent community transmission of the infection.
The national capital has only reported seven confirmed coronavirus cases so far including two patients who have recovered and have been discharged. One person, a 68-year-old woman, died last week.
Kejriwal said the administration was prepared for an eventuality where a larger number of people may be infected as a precautionary measure.
“Five hundred beds that have been kept aside in case there is a need for hospitalization at a large scale,” Kejriwal said, adding that quarantine facilities have been arranged at three Delhi hotels – Lemon Tree, Red Fox, and IBIS.
He also appealed to people who had come in contact with coronavirus patients and advised home quarantine to follow the advice of medical personnel. This, he said, was important for the safety of their family and society at large.
Apart from imposing a fresh set of restrictions, Kejriwal said it had also been decided to order municipal commissioners and district officers to install mobile washbasins in public places so that people can keep their hands clean. Security guards at buildings would also be given hand sanitizers for people to use when they enter and exit the complex.
Asked if thermal screening would be started for Delhi Metro passengers, Kejriwal said this point will be examined.