Delhi appears to be heading towards reopening, taking on challenges of post-COVID era


New Delhi: With the number of coronavirus cases in the national capital coming down, Delhi appears to be heading towards reopening completely and taking on challenges of the post-COVID era.

From schools to colleges, courts to public transport, the places and services which were partially functioning so far in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, are getting into action towards a complete reopening.

According to Saturday's health bulletin, Delhi recorded 152 fresh coronavirus cases, recording a marginal dip in the positivity rate while one death was reported.

According to officials, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) is likely to hold a meeting on Monday to decide the future course of action with regards to COVID preparedness and precautions.

Various Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), however, have cautioned that the government should take a safe approach and not open everything completely yet.

The Delhi Court has announced that from March 15, all of its judges will hold a physical hearing of cases and the existing system under which only 11 benches -- two division benches of two judges each and nine single-judge benches -- hear matters via the physical mode will continue till March 12.

The high court had, on March 25, 2020, restricted its functioning as well as that of the district courts till April 14, 2020.

It was subsequently extended from time to time till January 16, 2021. The high court had, on March 25, 2020, restricted its functioning as well as that of the district courts till April 14, 2020.

It was subsequently extended from time to time till January 16, 2021.

The Delhi Transport Corporation has also sent a proposal for consideration in a DDMA meeting to allow travel by commuters in the aisle or standing position in public transport buses in view of the declining COVID-19 cases in the city.

The DDMA had in November last year had allowed the running of DTC and cluster buses with full seating capacity. Before that, the service of public transport buses was resumed under 'unlockdown' relaxations in May at half their seating capacity.

Similarly, the metro services resumed in September last year allowing commuters to travel while following COVID protocols.

Schools in the national capital, which closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown, reopened for class 10 and 12 students from January 18 followed by class 9 and 11 from February 5. The Centre had allowed schools to reopen from October 15 last year, however, the Delhi government delayed the move till cases came down to a lower level.

The CBSE has already announced that the board exams will be conducted from May 4, three months later than the usual time.

The Delhi government which was earlier contemplating scrapping nursery admissions this year so children do not spend another year before mobile and computer screens has also given a go-ahead to the admission process and the application window opened on February 18.

Universities like DU and JNU have also reopened partially for students. While JNU began phase-wise reopening of campus in November last year, Delhi University began the process earlier this month.

Various departments under the Delhi government, are also working with full strength now. Various markets, both regular as well as weekly markets are also opening now.

According to Himanshu Vaish, President Panchshila Cooperative Housing Society RWA, in view of the severity of the virus and the lives lost to it, caution must be maintained.

"People themselves have learnt a lot of lessons in the pandemic and so it would be better to take forward the safety measures and precautions till there is a final solution to the COVID-19," he said. Echoing his views, Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary, Safdarjung RWA, said, the cases of COVID-19 are rising in some states like Maharashtra.

"After lockdown relaxations, some people have become casual towards safety measures. The government has to face pressure from different quarters to lift restrictions but I think the suggestions of experts must be followed," he said.

The overall infection tally in the city stands at 6,37,755, while the death toll is at 10,898. On Friday, 158 cases and one death were registered.

No death due to COVID-19 was recorded in Delhi on Wednesday, the third time single-day fatality count stood nil in February.

On February 9 too, no fatality from the infection was registered in the national capital, the first time this month, and after a gap of nearly nine months.

No death from COVID-19 was recorded on February 13 as well, the second time in the month when the single-day fatality count was nil.

Delhi recorded 94 fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest in over nine months.

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