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20 hotspots sealed; govt directs all depts to stop expenses except salary

20 hotspots sealed; govt directs all depts to stop expenses except salary

New Delhi: The Delhi government on Wednesday announced sealing of 20 Coronavirus hotspots comprising small pockets of settlements and apartment complexes, and made it compulsory for people to wear face masks when stepping outdoors to contain the spread of the novel virus.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held an emergency meeting with senior ministers and top officials of the Delhi government Wednesday evening and took a series of decisions to check the spread of the virus.

After the meeting via video conferencing, Kejriwal tweeted, Wearing of facial masks can reduce the spread of coronavirus substantially. Therefore, it has been decided that facial masks will be compulsory for anyone stepping out of their house. Cloth mask shall be eligible too.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who attended the meeting, said strict action would be taken against those not wearing masks while stepping out of their houses.

Sisodia also announced the decision of sealing 20 Coronavirus hotspots having small pockets of settlements and apartment complexes.

"Nobody will be allowed to enter or exit from these areas and the government will ensure delivery of essential items there, the Deputy Chief Minister told reporters.

According to the government, the 20 hotspots include parts of Sangam Vihar, Malviya Nagar and Jahangir Puri that have been notified as "containment areas".

Government sources said some more areas are likely to be sealed on Thursday and that the measure will remain in force till the situation improves.

The New Delhi district administration has also identified Bengali Market as a containment zone .

After the meeting, Kejriwal also said that all government departments have been directed to stop all expenditures except salary, adding that they will have to cut expenses drastically considering the current revenue status.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister held an interaction with MPs from the national capital on the Coronavirus outbreak and said "we all will have to fight it together".

Five Lok Sabha members, all belonging to the BJP, and three Rajya Sabha members of the AAP took part in the interaction.

"Discussed the issue of Corona with Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs via video conferencing. Several MPs have given good suggestions which will soon be implemented by the government. We all will have to fight it together," Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.

After the interaction via video links with the chief minister, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi tweeted, Would like to thank @ArvindKejriwal Ji who was gracious enough to take my suggestions into account during a vid con today. Today we rose above our differences to unite our efforts against a common cause. Beauty of Indian democracy.

On Tuesday, Kejriwal had announced a five-point action plan which includes one lakh rapid anti-body tests in hotspots to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the Delhi State Disaster Management Committee headed by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal is meeting on Thursday to review all measures taken, best and worst case scenarios, hospital infrastructure facilities and containment measures to counter the pandemic. With Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava, Chief Secretary Vijay Dev and General Officer Commanding Delhi Area in attendance, the committee will also deliberate on the city's stand on extending the 21-day lockdown, and if so, for how long. with agency inputs

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