Five new coronavirus cases were reported in Delhi in the past 24 hours, pushing the number of total cases to 35, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on March 25, as his government decided to issue e-passes for people associated with essential services to commute during the lockdown.
Kejriwal said people ensuring essential services such as milk sellers, vegetable vendors and grocers can call helpline 1031 to get the passes on their mobile phones through WhatsApp.
Addressing a joint digital press conference with Lt Governor Anil Baijal, the chief minister said people can walk down to shops nearby to buy items of daily use, and they don't need any pass for it.
"We will issue e-passes to people engaged in manufacturing, transport, and storage of essential items as well as to people associated with private essential services," he said, amid reports that delivery agents of e-commerce websites were facing difficulties in reaching their destinations due to the lockdown.
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An official later said a person wanting an e-pass will have to call 1031 and give his or her required details. Thereafter, an e-pass will be issued on the applicant's mobile phone number through WhatsApp. Also, the Delhi police held a meeting with etailers to ensure a seamless delivery of essential goods.
Kejriwal said of the five fresh cases reported in the past 24 hours, one is a foreign national.
He also said landlords threatening doctors and nurses to evacuate, fearing the spread of the contagious disease COVID-19, will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken against them.
Lt Governor Baijal directed all district magistrates, DCPs and deputy commissioners of municipal corporations to take strict action against such landlords.
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Baijal also directed authorities to ensure proper arrangements for transportation of medical staff from their residence to their workplace during the 21-day lockdown announced by the government.
"We would ensure that the essential services are maintained during the lockdown. Details have been worked out on how we will go about it," the LG said.
Two senior police officers — Sanjiv Khirwar and Muktesh Chandar — have been appointed as nodal officers to address the problems faced by service providers of essential goods and services, an official order said.
Kejriwal said his government has increased the number of spots across the city where free food for the poor will be made available.
"We have arranged for food for poor in our night shelters, free ration for 72 lakh beneficiaries, increased pension rates under widow, elderly and physically disabled schemes," he said.
"However, there are a lot of people who fall outside the ambit of many schemes. We know people are more in number. We are increasing the number of spots where free food is provided," he added.
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Meanwhile, the Delhi government permitted all manufacturers of drugs and cosmetics to produce ethanol-based hand sanitisers up to June 30 without a separate license to deal with the shortage in markets.
It has been observed that hand sanitisers are either not available with most of the vendors in the market or are available at exorbitant prices.
"The decision to 'grant conditional permission/approval to manufacture ethanol-based sanitiser/hand cleanser/hand rub to manufacturers of drugs, homeopathic medicine manufacturers/cosmetic manufacturers in Delhi for a period up to June 30 only shall be deemed cancelled/withdrawn automatically, unless otherwise extended," the government said in a circular.
On March 25, 90 more coronavirus positive cases were reported in India, pushing the total number of cases to 606, while the number of deaths was 10, according to the Union Health Ministry. The number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 553 while 43 people have been cured, discharged or migrated. The 606 positive cases include 43 foreign nationals, the ministry said.