The Aam Aadmi Party-led government in Delhi has informed the High Court that, for now, no night curfew would be imposed in the national capital, or parts of it, in view of the COVID-19 situation.
The Delhi government has taken a considered view, after assessing the situation, to not introduce restrictions on movement at night, read the status report submitted before the court.
“The Delhi Government has been taking all necessary measures, as required and demanded, by the ever-changing circumstances and (remains) committed to making every effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19 in the national capital,” the High Court was informed.
The government’s response was submitted a week after the court directed the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation to “immediately” decide on night curfew in Delhi, and implement it without delay.
Many states, including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, implemented night curfews for varying periods to check the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus.
The directive was issued amid a third wave of coronavirus infections which the city has not been able to shake off in a month.
The record surge – with 8,600 daily cases on November 10 – also invited sharp remarks from the Supreme Court, which said “worse things will happen in December if states aren’t well prepared”.
According to a central government report, Delhi may see up to 15,000 cases a day in the winter months.
Recently in the Supreme Court, after being accused by the centre of “taking no effective steps to curb the spread of COVID-19″, the Delhi government presented statistics to show its “consistent efforts” that led to a “declining trend” in the spread of COVID-19 infections since last week.
The daily coronavirus infection numbers in Delhi have come down to about 4,000 over the past few days, but the deaths still remain relatively high.
The third wave, which started in the last week of October, has been Delhi’s most severe yet. At least 2,600 people have died because of COVID-19 in November alone, government data shows. The number of patients with severe symptoms, exacerbated by air pollution due to stubble burning and Diwali, requiring hospitalisation had overwhelmed the city’s health infrastructure as ICU beds filled up fast triggering worry.
The situation made the High Court reconsider its decision, allowing Delhi government to reserve 80 per cent beds in 33 of its hospitals for Covid patients.
The same day, the central government also held an emergency meeting with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal releasing a set of 12-point measures, including more doctors, hospitals beds and increased testing with focus on RT-PCR tests.
Though the centre had promised that the daily tests would be increased to more than 1 lakh a day, it remains around the 60,000 mark Delhi has maintained for months.
Delhi’s COVID-19 tally stands at 5.7 lakh with 9,342 deaths. It is among the worst-hit states in India, which has reported more than 95.3 lakh Covid cases and 1.3 lakh related deaths.