New Delhi city officials announced that due to a sharp decline in number of new coronavirus cases, a citywide weekend curfew was lifted, and the restaurants and markets were allowed to reopen.
New Delhi has been one of the worst-hit in the ongoing third wave led by the highly infectious Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus and the city government had imposed the curfew on January 4, 2022 and ordered schools and restaurants to close.
Restaurants, bars and cinemas in Delhi will be allowed to operate with up to 50 percent capacity and the number of people at weddings will be restricted to 200.
India’s capital will remain under night-time curfew though, and schools will be closed, Delhi’s lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, who represents the federal government said, as the official data suggested India’s recent Omicron variant outbreak had slowed.
The number of new cases in Delhi fell to 4,291 on January 27 from a peak of 28,867 on January 13. More than 85 percent of COVID-19 beds across the city’s hospitals were unoccupied, government data showed.
“In view of the decline in positive cases, it was decided to gradually ease restrictions while ensuring adherence to COVID-19 Appropriate Behavior,” the official said.
Last week, authorities eased some curbs, allowing private offices to be partially staffed but advised people to work from home as much as possible.
Today, India reported 251,209 new COVID-19 infections over the last 24 hours, taking the overall tally to 40.62 million, the health ministry said. Deaths increased by 627 and total fatalities were 492,327.
Late on Thursday, the federal home ministry urged states to remain vigilant and said it was a concern that 407 districts across 34 states and Union Territories were reporting an infective rate of more than 10 percent, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla told them in a letter.
“In the last five to seven days, there is an early indication of COVID cases plateauing… but we need to observe and take precautions,” health ministry official Lav Agarwal told a news conference yesterday.
India was battered by a devastating COVID-19 outbreak last year that saw 200,000 people killed in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums.
Since then, the country has administered more than 1.6 billion vaccine doses and expanded its inoculation drive to teenagers, while giving booster shots to vulnerable people and front-line workers.