Delhi will be locked down from 6 am on March 23, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Sunday, saying 'extraordinary measures' are required to contain the spread of the new coronavirus after six locally transmitted cases surfaced in the national capital.
The lockdown will continue till midnight on March 31, Kejriwal said at a joint press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal.
No public transport will operate and Delhi's borders will remain sealed during the lockdown, but the essential services related to health, food, water and power supply will continue, he said but added that 25 percent of the DTC buses will run to transport people associated with essential services.
He informed that all domestic and international flights were being suspended in Delhi.
Dairies, milk plants, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps, ATMs, e-commerce services of essential items like food and medicines will remain open, he said.
'Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Delhi will be under lockdown from tomorrow 6 am until March 31. Certain exceptions have been made to ensure essential items are available for purchase and basic services continue to operate,' he tweeted after the press conference.
At the press conference, Kejriwal said of the total 27 cases reported in Delhi, six were locally transmitted from one person to another while 21 contracted it abroad. The six cases are those who were in contact with people who returned from COVID-19 hit countries, he added.
'The way this virus has spread across the country, especially in Italy, Iran and China, whose examples are before us. We have examples of countries which have dealt effectively that clearly shows that the sooner its (coronavirus) spread is checked, the better.
'We know people will face difficulties, but lockdown is necessary to contain the spread of coronavirus,' he said.
Delhi government has issued the Delhi Epidemic Diseases COVID-19 Regulations 2020 under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 for preventive and containment of the virus.
The Health and Family Welfare department of Delhi government issued a detailed order notifying the lockdown in whole of the national capital, stipulating various restrictions.
The restrictions include no operation of public transport including private buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, e-rickshaws. All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices weekly bazaars will be closed.
The order stated all motorable and non-motorable borders of Delhi with Haryana and UP will be sealed. Movement of inter-state buses trains and Delhi Metro trains will be closed.
'All domestic/international flights arriving in Delhi during this period will be suspended,' stated the order.
However, a senior official of aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation clarified that domestic flights will be operating as usual at the airport.
The Centre had announced three days ago that no international flight will be landing on the Indian soil from Sunday onward for a period of one week.
"Domestic flights to and from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will continue to operate and the airport will remain functional," the DGCA official said.
Construction activities and all religious places will also be shut.
The essential services excluded from restrictions include law and order and magisterial duty, police, health, fire, prisons, fair price shops, electricity, water, municipal services, print and electronic media, teller operations including ATMs, food items, groceries, general provision stores, take-away delivery in restaurants, petrol pumps, LPG cylinder agencies, e-commerce of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
Gathering of more than five people will not be allowed and strict action will be taken if anybody violates the lockdown.
"People coming out of their homes for essential things will not be asked anything and they will be trusted for which they would be coming out."
The private sector will have to pay salaries to their employees during the lockdown.
The companies will not deduct salaries, the CM assured.
Compliance of the order will be ensured by authorities including additional chief secretary(transport) Delhi government, the chairperson of New Delhi Municipal Council, the chairperson of Airport Authority of India and the Delhi Police Commissioner.