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CM favours partial lockdown and partial withdrawal

CM favours partial lockdown and partial withdrawal

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chief Ministers of all states on Saturday. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to ask the Centre for a partial lockdown and partial withdrawal. The Delhi Chief Minister hopes to phase out the lockdown as hotpots have been identified and sealed. This is the third meeting that the Prime Minister will be holding with the CMs on COVID-19.

The meeting with all CMs will be held through video conferencing. Unlike Odisha, which has declared that it will continue the lockdown till April 30, Delhi is not keen on a complete lockdown.

"If the PM announces that a complete lockdown will continue post April 14 then there is not much for the Delhi government to do except to comply to the Centre's direction," said a source.

"In case a national lockdown is lifted and it is left to each state to decide on whether they will continue the lockdown or bring in changes then the Delhi government hopes to ramp up its economic activities," said an official in the Delhi Secretariat.

Delhi CM hopes to ask for a partial lockdown, which will allow functioning of some economic activities.

A source in the Delhi government said, "Delhi government will not opt for complete lockdown rather it will take place in a phase out manner. With the SHIELD and the 5T plan in place the Delhi government is ready to

open up areas that do not have COVID-19 cases. Essential services like medicine, milk, vegetables and fruits do not bring in much revenue.

Therefore, it is important to allow economic activities which involve non-essential goods to take place. This pandemic has affected Delhi financially."

The official went on to say that decision on functioning of liquor shops has not been taken yet. If a partial lockdown takes place, the Delhi government has not yet come to a conclusion on whether to allow liquor shops to open or not in areas that do not have COVID-19 cases, although, alcohol does bring in a considerable amount of revenue.

"If the lockdown was to be lifted then DTC buses and private companies like Ola and Uber will be allowed to function with 50 per cent capacity," said the official.

"Essential employees might be allowed to work from office while the non-essential employees will continue to work from home. The government is likely to encourage people to continue work from home unless it is absolutely required. Dining facilities at restaurants will continue to remain suspended though takeaway services will be allowed. E-services like Amazon, Flipkart and other online portals might be allowed to deliver goods as they do not come in contact with people. But they will have to follow social distancing. In areas that are marked safe from COVID-19, movement of goods should be allowed. Non-essential shops can also be opened depending on the situation and the area," said the official.

The Delhi government has recognised several containment areas which have been sealed and operation SHIELD has been implemented.

These areas that have seen large number of cases

will be kept under strict vigilance by authorities and movement of local people will be restricted.

"Lockdown was necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. If cases rise again chances are lockdown may be

re-implemented and plans may change. Functioning of railways and aviation come under the Centre and the Delhi government cannot take any decision on it. We will follow Centre's directions," added the official.

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