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NEW DELHI: The national capital is ready to resume normal functioning after over two months as most recommendations of the city government’s about lifting the coronavirus-triggered lockdown have been accepted by the Centre, sources said on Saturday.
The Home Ministry on Saturday said ‘Unlock-1’ will be initiated in the country from June 8 under which the nationwide lockdown effectuated on March 25 will be relaxed to a great extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places, even as strict restrictions will remain in place till June 30 in the country’s worst-hit areas.
“Practically almost all the recommendations of Delhi government have been included in the MHA guidelines which means normal activities will resume in the city in the next few days.
“A final announcement about lifting of restrictions is likely to be made tomorrow, after going through the guidelines and standard operating procedures of the Centre,” a source in the Delhi government said.
The shopping malls, closed in the city since March 23, are most likely to open from June 8 as the Delhi government had recommended to reopen shops in malls on odd-even basis.
The MHA guidelines have also paved the way for opening of religious places. But resumption of Delhi Metro services will have to wait for the third phase of lifting of restrictions as per the MHA guidelines.
Delhi government is in favour of resumption of Metro services to revive normal transport and commercial activities.
As per its recommendation to enhance timing of opening markets, the MHA has extended curfew timings. The shops that stayed open from 7 am to 7 pm can keep their shutters up till 9pm.
The MHA has said that lockdown will continue till June 30 in containment zones to be demarcated by district authorities.
Delhi currently has 122 containment zones — areas three or more COVID-19 cases have been found. So far 53 containment zones have been contained after no fresh cases were reported in 28 days, according to official data.
A record single-day spike of 1,163 fresh cases took the COVID-19 tally in Delhi to over 18,000 on Saturday and the death toll due to the disease mounted to 416, authorities said.
The previous highest spike in fresh cases — 1106 — was recorded on May 29. This is the second consecutive day in Delhi when over 1,100 Covid-19 cases have been reported in a day.
“Delhi government has been in favour of lifting the lockdown restrictions outside containment zones as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is of the view that lockdown can not continue indefinitely and we need to learn to live with coronavirus by taking all due precautions,” the source said.
“We cannot have a permanent lockdown. No one can predict that the coronavirus will go away if the lockdown is extended for one or two months. We have to learn to live with it and we have to arrange for everything required to treat Covid-19 patients,” Kejriwal said at a press conference on Saturday.
The Delhi government will explore the possibility of allowing hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services to function in the light of MHA guidelines, the government source said.