New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The ongoing coronavirus crisis has changed the way of celebrations, and the Independence Day is no exception. Like every year, this year too the prime minister will address the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, but several things will have a changed appearance.

The entry of the visitors to the venue has been restricted in wake of the pandemic. According to the Defence Ministry, over 4,000 people including diplomats, officials and media personnel have been invited for the ceremony at the Red Fort and it is being organised maintaining a balance between dignity of the event and factoring in COVID-19 protocols   

It said the seating arrangement has been made under the guiding principle of “Do Gaz ki Doori” (maintaining distance of two yards) between any two guests.

It said members of the guard of honour have been under quarantine.

"With an eye on safety, NCC (National Cadet Corps) cadets have been invited to witness the event (instead of young school children) and they will be seated at Gyanpath," it noted.

All invitees have been requested to wear masks, it said, adding that an adequate number of masks are being kept handy for distribution at various points of venue.

"Similarly, availability of hand sanitizers at pre-defined locations has been done. Display boards are placed discreetly to attract the attention of invitees," the ministry said.

In order to facilitate people's seamless movement and to avoid crowding, seating enclosures and walkways have been laid with wooden flooring and carpeting, it said.

Additional door frame metal detectors with adequately spaced markings have been provided to avoid queuing and to ensure smooth passage for all the invitees, it mentioned.

"Most of the parking areas have been brick lined and paved in order to ensure smooth entry and exit of vehicles to the maximum feasible extent," it said.

Thermal screening at all entry points for the invitees has been planned, it mentioned.

It said a thorough sanitization of the premises inside and outside the Red Fort is being carried out on a regular basis.

The ministry said the participation is only through invitation and those who do not have formal invites should "refrain from coming to the venue".

Other than this, the security personnel deployed at the venue will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment kits. Also, the photo journalists covering the event will be required to present a COVID-19 negative certificate.

A security ring, including NSG snipers, elite SWAT commandos and kite catchers, will be placed around the Red Fort.

There will be heavy security deployment along the route taken by the prime minister to reach Red Fort. Over 300 cameras have been installed for security and their footage is being monitored round-the-clock, police said.

Medical booths have been set up at various locations--one booth near the rampart, one at Madhavdas Park and two booths at 15 August Park--to cater to any attendee with symptoms related to COVID-19 during the entry.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta