Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference on Thursday on steps taken by the government to check the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19.


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that all the essential services will remain open during Covid-19 lockdown, and assured that people who are involved in delivering these services will be allowed.

He announced this after a press conference with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

“Online service providers/e-retailers delivering essential services and goods to be allowed. All essential services shops can remain open 24 hours so that there is no rush of people,” Baijal said at the press conference.

Kejriwal said that he held a meeting with Delhi Police officials and told them to allow such services. He also said that Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACPs) have been tasked with ensuring that all the grocery shows and other utility stores remain open.

“The factories which make these items, and warehouses where they are stored, will remain open. Those factories which want to function for 24 hours, will be allowed to do so,” said Kejriwal.

“Those delivering food will be allowed, these executives just have to shows their ID cards to the police,” the Delhi Chief Minister said.

He further said that mohalla clinics won’t be shut. “I know one of our doctors has tested positive. There are reports that mohalla clinics will be shut because of that. I want to tell the people that don’t believe in rumours. Mohalla clinics will be closed,” said Kejriwal.

His assurance came after chaos on the first day of the lockdown when long queues were seen outside shops and e-commerce and food delivery executives complained of harassment by the police.

People faced trouble reaching stores as policemen refused to let them pass, even beating up some despite the government’s assurances of no curbs on the purchase of essential items. Several people who faced harassment said the police did not appear to be aware of the government’s advisory. People who did manage to reach local stores said they feared a worsening of the situation as stocks appeared to be depleted.

Online retailers such as Amazon and grocery delivery services such as Big Basket were cancelling previously placed orders and said they did not have new delivery slots available. This pushed people to go out to shop at local stores, where social distancing was a far cry as people jostled to secure fast-disappearing supplies.

The Centre is also in touch with the state governments to ensure there is no shortage of essential commodities.

In five days, the number of Covid-19 cases has jumped from about 200 to 606, and experts say the number could surge if more people are tested. Five fresh cases were reported in the national capital in the last 24 hours till Wednesday.