Stakeholders push to lift curbs, open schools
Hindustan Times|January 25, 2022
DDMA to meet on Jan 27 to review restrictions amid calls from traders, businesses, schools, experts, residents
Soumya Pillai and Alok KN Mishra

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government's health department has recommended that businesses activities in the national capital should be allowed to resume without restrictions and private schools have urged the authorities to bring children back to the classroom as the clamour to start unlocking the Capital gained momentum amid a fall in Covid-19 cases and consistently low hospitalisation rates.

A decision, however, is likely only after three more days, when the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meets on January 27 to discuss changes to restrictions.

There have been growing demands in recent days from the city's elected government, the business community, and parents of schoolchildren for the DDMA to ease Covid-19 related restrictions, which several medical experts regard as unnecessarily stifling at a time when the outbreak is under control.

"Covid cases have been on a decline over the last week. On January 20, there was a minor spike but we had more tests that day and the positivity rate was lower, which was another indication of receding cases. Our assessment is that we can remove restrictions in a phased manner, and we have communicated that to the DDMA," a health department official said on Monday, asking not to be named.

Numbers released on Monday further reinforced the assessment. The city recorded 5,760 new infections from 11.79% of all tests conducted the day before, the lowest rate at which the tally grew in 20 days.

The number of people in hospitals with Covid-19 too shrunk significantly to 2,394, the lowest since DDMA, headed by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, has called a meeting for 12.30 pm on January 27 to discuss the Covid-related public health measures in the city.

Last week, the agency rejected a request from the Delhi government to lift the weekend curfew and allow all shops to open instead of the odd-even rule at present, although it accepted the proposal to let private offices call back 50% of staff to their locations.

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