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Coronavirus lockdown: 24x7 nod for essentials in Delhi

Several videos of the police assaulting vegetable and meat sellers have been circulating on social media

  • Published 27.03.20, 2:17 AM
  • Updated 27.03.20, 2:17 AM
  • a min read
People buy groceries during the coronavirus lockdown in New Delhi on Wednesday. AP

Shops selling essentials will be allowed to stay open 24x7 in Delhi, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday in a move aimed at reducing the crowds outside stores and curb the transmission of the novel coronavirus.

The announcement came amid reports of individual police officers, municipal staff and residents’ welfare associations imposing unauthorised restrictions on essential services.

On Wednesday, the police had begun issuing movement passes for those providing essential services such as groceries. However, reports have come from across Delhi of stores being shut or their timings being curtailed on unwritten orders from police officers.

Several videos of the police assaulting vegetable and meat sellers have been circulating on social media.

“Today we have ordered that there will be no restrictions on e-commerce companies providing essential services,” Kejriwal said.

“We have also formulated a plan to check whether the essential service providers are working on the ground and whether they have enough stocks.”

He added: “The sub-divisional magistrates and assistant commissioners of police (who also have magisterial or administrative powers) will ensure that all shops in their area providing essential services are open and that they have enough stocks of essential commodities.

“We have seen that the shops providing essential services are facing huge crowds; so we have decided that they will be allowed to remain open 24×7.”

This, however, is voluntary for the shopkeepers.

Kejriwal quashed rumours that the 450-odd mohalla clinics were shutting down.

“In Delhi, one mohalla clinic doctor is infected with the coronavirus along with his wife and daughter. It’s a sad development,” he said.

“A rumour is going round that every mohalla clinic in Delhi will be closed because of this. This is incorrect; we’ll ensure that every mohalla clinic stays fully functional during this tough time.”

Mohalla clinic doctors are from the private sector, or are on temporary contract or voluntary service with the Delhi government. Almost 900 people who came in contact with the infected doctor at his clinic in Seemapuri, or the mohalla clinic in Mohanpuri where he works both in northeast Delhi have been home-quarantined.

The 49-year-old doctor had at his Seemapuri clinic examined a 38-year-old woman from Jahangirpuri who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia. He has tested positive for the virus.

All the 36 people detected with the novel coronavirus in Delhi are being treated at Safdarjung Hospital.