Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the national capital will start the process of lifting the lockdown gradually, starting with resumption of construction activities and reopening of factories for one week from Monday, May 31.
He said that Delhi has somehow gained control over the second wave of COVID-19, however stressing that this doesn't mean the fight against the deadly disease has ended.
"It is time to start the unlock process. It should not be the case that people escape coronavirus but die of hunger... We have to maintain a balance between controlling the spread of coronavirus and allowing economic activities," Kejriwal said during an online press briefing.
"At a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday, it was decided that the lockdown be lifted gradually. In this process, we have to take care of the lowest strata first ... daily wagers, labourers, migrant workers who come to Delhi from far off areas in search of livelihood," he said.
"Keeping this in mind, it has been decided to open factories and allow construction activities for one week from Monday," he said, adding the government will continue the unlock process every week based on the opinion of experts and the public.
However, if the cases start rising again, we will have to stop the unlock exercise, he added and appealed to people not to step out unless it is absolutely necessary.
In the last 24 hours, Delhi reported a positivity rate of around 1.5 percent and around 11,00 new cases, the CM said.
The chief minister had announced a lockdown in Delhi on April 19, with the city recording over one lakh cases in the previous five days.
Thereafter, the government kept extending the restrictions every week, hoping to break the chain of infection as hospitals reeled under a massive surge of cases and shortage of oxygen and essential drugs.
"The number of cases and the positivity rate has declined gradually. There is no difficulty in getting beds, oxygen and ICU beds are also available in good numbers. But the fight against the virus hasn't ended," Kejriwal said.
So, whatever gains Delhi has made in the one-and-a-half month of lockdown cannot be squandered by lifting the restrictions in one go, he added.
On Thursday, Delhi recorded 117 COVID-19 fatalities, the lowest since April 15, and 1,072 cases, while the positivity rate dipped to a nearly two-month low of 1.53 per cent, according to the health bulletin.
It was the fifth day in a row when the daily cases in Delhi have remained below 2,000 and the second consecutive day when the cases were below 1,500.