New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that lockdown-like curbs in the national capital will continue for another week. However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo relaxed the curbs in the city-state, allowing markets, malls and standalone stores to reopen on an odd-even basis between 10 am to 8 pm.

Addressing a virtual press conference, Kejriwal also said that metro services will resume in Delhi during the second phase of Unlock with 50 per cent of their capacity. He also said that shops dealing in essential commodities will be allowed to operate every day.

He also said that private offices can resume their operations with 50 per cent staff with staggered timings to avoid overcrowding. Group A staff of government offices will also be allowed to function with 100 per cent strength in Delhi while group B can operate with 50 per cent strength, Kejriwal added.

Assuring Delhiites that adequate steps have been taken to combat a possible third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, Kejriwal said a pediatric task force has been set up to prepare a protection plan for children in the national capital.

The Delhi Chief Minister further said that two genome sequencing labs will be set up at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP) and Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) for detection of new variants of the infection "if any" during a possible third wave of the pandemic.

"With an expected third wave of COVID-19, 420 tonnes of oxygen storage capacity is being prepared. We have also spoken to Indraprastha Gas limited to produce 150 tones of oxygen," Kejriwal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"A team of doctors and experts will be set up to examine the demand of medicines to tackle the WhatsApp forwards of medicines," he added.

The lockdown in the city-state was imposed on April 19 and was extended five times due to the massive surge in COVID-19 cases. However, Kejriwal last month announced the phase-wise upliftment of the lockdown, allowing construction units and industrial outputs to reopen.

Kejriwal, while uplifting the restrictions, had warned against 'laxity' and said that people must continue following appropriate COVID-19 norms to ensure that cases do not rise again.

"The virus is reducing in Delhi slowly and steadily, and I hope it diminishes completely and does not rise again. However, we are not going to become negligent in any way," he had said.

Delhi, meanwhile, 523 fresh COVID-19 cases and 50 fatalities on Friday, while the positivity rate stood at 0.68 per cent. According to the latest health bulletin, these new fatalities pushed the death toll from COVID-19 here to 24,497.

On Thursday, Delhi had recorded 487 cases of COVID-19, the lowest daily count in over two-and-a-half months and 45 fatalities fatalities. This was the first time the daily death count had gone below the 50-mark since April 11 when the tally was 48. The positivity rate on Thursday had stood at 0.61 per cent.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma