Delhi under lockdown till March 31, essential services exempted: Kejriwal

New Delhi [India], Mar 22 (ANI): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced a complete lockdown in the national capital as a step to contain the spread of coronavirus. The lockdown will begin from 6 am tomorrow (March 23) and will continue till midnight of March 31.

"Before it gets too late, we have decided to impose lockdown in Delhi from 6 am tomorrow (March 23) till midnight of March 31," said Kejriwal here in a press conference.

The Chief Minister along with Delhi's Lieutenant General Anil Baijal informed that essential services have been exempted from lockdown.

"Essential services exempted from lockdown. Dairies, grocery shops, chemists and petrol pumps to remain open," he said.

However, no public transport services including private buses, autos, e-rickshaws will be allowed to ply in Delhi and only 25 per cent DTC bus fleet will continue to ply on roads in the national capital.

"No public transport services including private buses, autos, e-rickshaws will be allowed during the lockdown period in Delhi. Only 25 per cent of the DTC bus fleet will continue to ply on roads of Delhi to carry people involved in essential services," he said. Metro services will also remain suspended in the national capital till March 31.

Moreover, all domestic flights into Delhi will be banned from tomorrow till March 31. The move is aimed at controlling the spread of coronavirus by ensuring "social distancing and encouraging people to stay at home for the time being."

Giving relief to private and contractual employees, the Chief Minister said: "All private offices will remain closed but the employees - both permanent and contractual - will be considered to be on-duty. The companies will have to provide them with a salary for this duration."

There are 27 cases in Delhi - 6 of them fall under the category of transmission, 21 had come from foreign countries, the Chief Minister said.

The number of coronavirus positive patients in India rose to 341 on Sunday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

A total of 16,999 samples from 16,109 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 as of 10:00 am on March 22, as per ICMR data. (ANI)