Metro, buses, theatres & multiplexes all open. Is Delhi going the right way?

The move to open up comes amid repeated warnings by experts on a possible third wave

Delhi Metro, the city's lifeline, will be allowed to operate with 100 per cent seating capacity from Monday (July 26)

With COVID cases coming down drastically, Delhi is all set to open up despite being asked to be cautious about a possible spike in cases. Experts also believe opening up of public transport in full capacity is a move fraught with danger.

To begin with, theatres and multiplexes will open with 50 per cent occupancy while full seating capacity is allowed for the Delhi Metro and public transport buses from Monday (July 26).

Just for the record, the city on Saturday (July 24) reported no death and only 66 new infections in the last 24 hours. Overall, Delhi has 587 active cases. As per the latest report, the infection rate has come down to just 0.09 per cent now.

WHAT IS OPEN?

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  • Theatres, multiplexes with 50 per cent occupancy
  • Delhi Metro and public transport with 100 per cent occupancy
  • Spas and exhibitions (with restrictions)

The city witnessed an unprecedented surge of cases and deaths during the second wave of coronavirus in April and May. As per the latest unlock guidelines by Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), spas can also open from July 26 but all employees have to be fully vaccinated or undergo RT-PCR test fortnightly. In Metros, while full seating capacity has been allowed, no standing passenger will be permitted.

Also read: Why is Kerala’s COVID curve still not flattening? Here are the reasons

The latest unlock guidelines by DDMA said the Delhi Metro, the city’s lifeline, will be allowed to operate with 100 per cent seating capacity from Monday but no standing passenger will be allowed. An eight-coach Metro train, which is expected to accommodate over 2,000 passengers, is ferrying 200 passengers at present.

As per the order, business-to-business (B2B) exhibitions will also be allowed, but only with business visitors. The number of people allowed at marriage functions and last rites has also been raised to 100.

Spas can also open from July 26 but all employees have to be fully vaccinated or undergo RT-PCR test fortnightly, the DDMA said.

Transport experts, however, are not enthused. They say allowing 100% seating increases the risk and thereby only 50% seating be allowed.

Amit Bhatt, executive director at WRI India, a research organisation, told Times of India: “But with people sitting next to each other, there would be no physical distance, which defeats the whole purpose. There could have been marking spaces for standing.”

Schools opening?

Earlier, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal told Hindustan Times the state was in no hurry to open schools, but would keep “monitoring what other states are doing”.

Insisting that schools should ideally only be opened after total vaccination, Kejriwal said, “The ideal situation would be to open schools after vaccination. We will see for some days the experiences of other states where schools are opening and then decide. Parents are still worried about their child’s safety.”

Also read: Two-third of Indians have antibodies against COVID: ICMR serosurvey

Experts caution Delhi govt

Many national and international experts have asked state governments to be cautious while opening up despite concerns about a possible Third Wave.

Recently, Niti Aayog member VK Paul asked the Delhi government to remain cautious in the next three months.

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