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Kejriwal, Delhities keen to open up city but corona spike may throw a spanner

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4:52 am IST

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Kejriwal

The national capital reported a record inter-day high of 472 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that most Delhi residents were in favour of easing the lockdown. Kejriwal, whose government had asked for suggestions from people on the issue, said the citizens were in favour of opening up most services and sectors. This comes as the city continues to see a spike in coronavirus cases, which the CM claims can be managed by Delhi’s health services. According to the results of the survey, the citizens of Delhi want restaurants to be opened but only for delivery; auto-rickshaws and taxis services to be resumed but with only one person being allowed in a rickshaw and two in a taxi; morning walks in the park be permitted; buses to ply again; construction activities to resume; shopping malls to slowly open up; and, the 7pm curfew time to be removed.

They, however, want social distancing to be strictly followed and mask to be made mandatory. They also oppose the opening of hotels, salons, cinema halls, etc. “I had sought suggestions from the people of Delhi on how much relaxation should be given inside Delhi. This move came after the Central government asked us (the Delhi government) for suggestions on the same. I believe that this should not be decided in a closed room, so I asked you (the citizens) to tell us what you want to see. We will now put your suggestions forward to the centre,” said CM Kejriwal. While the leader pushes for relaxation, the daily medical update from the national capital does not instil confidence. Delhi reported 472 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest spike in the number of corona cases in a single day for the city, taking the total number to 8,470.

At least 115 people have died due to the pandemic, while 3,045 have recovered so far. “A large number of suggestions have come from the market associations. They are wanting the markets to be opened on an odd-even basis. Delhi was closed for a month-and-a-half, it was very easy to close the city down but will be a lot harder to open it. The way forward is definitely going to be very difficult,” said the Chief Minister. While the CM has admitted that the times ahead are going to be tough, the current increase in cases suggest that if the city were to be opened up completely the situation could take an uglier turn.