The AAP government of Delhi today announced the imposition of a ‘yellow alert’ under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the national capital with immediate effect in view of the surge in a number of cases of Chinese virus coronavirus’s Delta and Omicron mutations. The yellow alert involves restrictions like night curfew, closure of schools and colleges, the opening of non-essential shops based on an odd-even basis, halved seating capacity in metro trains and buses among others.
In the middle of warnings of a third Covid-19 wave, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had in July passed a colour-coded response action plan under which curbs will be implemented in accordance with the severity of the Covid-19 situation in the national capital. Medical experts had stressed having 12,000 ICU beds, sufficient oxygen, drugs and ambulances to deal with another surge in cases in Delhi.
The colour codes based on positivity rate (on two consecutive days), the cumulative number of new cases (over a week) and average oxygenated-bed occupancy (for a week) lead to the assignment of four levels of alerts. The draft action plan permits shops and establishments of essential goods and services to be open during all four levels of alerts.
The yellow (Level-1) alert is to be sounded when the positivity rate crosses 0.5% or new Covid-19 cases increase to 1,500 or oxygenated bed occupancy reaches 500. The response to a ‘yellow alert’ involves allowing construction, manufacturing activities and the opening of shops and establishments of essential goods. However, shops and establishments of non-essential goods and services, and malls will open based on odd-even formula, from 10 AM to 8 PM.
Only one of the weekly markets per zone with 50% vendors are allowed to open, the draft plan stated. The next level of alert coded with amber (L-2) will come into force if the positivity rate rises above 1% or new cases number 3,500 or oxygenated bed occupancy reaching 700. ‘Amber’ alert will invoke the same responses as ‘Yellow’ one except that malls and shops of non-essential goods and services will be allowed to open from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Delhi on Yellow Alert
• The DDMA has ordered the closure of schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms with immediate effect and put various restrictions on the functioning of shops and public transport.
• Shops and establishments of non-essential goods and services and malls will open based on the odd-even formula from 10 AM to 8 PM.
• The timing of night curfew imposed from Monday night has also been extended by an hour and it will now begin at 10 pm. The night curfew from 10 PM to 5 AM will remain in force till further orders.
• Marriages and funerals will be allowed attendance of 20 persons while all other types of gathering related to social, political, cultural, religious and festival events will be prohibited.
• The Delhi Metro will run at 50% of its seating capacity while auto-rickshaws and cabs can ferry up to two passengers. Busses too will ply at 50% of capacity with exempted category passengers.
• Only one weekly market per zone with 50% vendors will be allowed to open.
• Restaurants will be permitted with 50% capacity from 8 AM to 10 PM while bars can also operate with the same capacity, but from 12 noon to 10 PM.
• Private offices can function with up to 50% of the staff.
• Religious places will open but visitors will not be allowed.
• Parks and gardens can open.
Omicron mutation of Chinese virus in Delhi
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said today that the total number of cases of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus recorded in Delhi has jumped to 165. Amid the Omicron scare, the national capital recorded 331 fresh coronavirus cases, the highest single-day rise since 9 June and one death, on Monday, while the positivity rate mounted to 0.68%, according to data shared by the Delhi health department.
Delhi’s first case of the Omicron variant — a 37-year-old man from Ranchi — was detected on 5 December. He has been discharged. Amid a jump in Omicron cases reported in Delhi, doctors have warned that people should avoid all kinds of gatherings as this is a highly transmissible variant, and follow Covid-appropriate behaviours, else the situation may worsen.