The Delhi government has imposed a night curfew that will be in place every day from 10pm to 5am in the wake of the rising Covid-19 cases in the national Capital, senior government officials confirmed to HT.
"The proposal was prepared by the Delhi government. The lieutenant governor (L-G) has just now approved the file and it has been sent back to the government. Now an order will be issued shortly wherein the night curfew will be enforced with immediate effect," said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.
The official said no other curbs other than the night curfew are being ordered as of now. The curfew will mean that all restaurants, weddings, pubs and other places where people gather will have to close up by 10pm every day.
"Only essential services will be allowed in that seven-hour window. Only up to two persons will be allowed to be together. We observed that weddings, pubs, restaurants and other party venues were brazenly flouting Covid-19-appropriate behaviour. Even as most markets shut by evening, those that remain open till late will have to shut by 10pm," said a second official.
However, the Delhi government is yet to clarify whether it will allow those arriving at railway stations, airports and interstate bus terminals to travel within the city. The official quoted above said such passengers are unlikely to be stopped, but they might have trouble finding transportation to their homes because of the night curfew.
The decision was taken as the Capital registered 3,548 new cases on Monday – a number that was slightly lower than Sunday, although this was due to fewer tests. Consequently, the test positivity rate inched above 5%, the threshold that the World Health Organization identifies as ideal for an outbreak to be considered as under control.
Night curfews are one of the most common non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) used in other states as well. These include districts in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The strictest of the measures are in Maharashtra, where authorities imposed a night and weekend curfew, ordered non-essentials businesses to shut down, and asked most offices to switch to remote working.