Surprisingly complacent

Others are wary of travellers from Delhi because of the high incidence of Covid-19, but the capital city seems to be taking it easy instead of clamping down on movement

Covid numbers are still a cause for worry in the capital city, and cities in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand’s Dehradun and Uttar Pradesh are unsurprisingly shy away from welcoming visitors from Delhi. In the city however, the Aam Aadmi Party-led government in Delhi has informed the High Court that, for now, no night curfew would be imposed in the national capital, or parts of it, in view of the Covid-19 situation. “The Delhi Government has been taking all necessary measures, as required and demanded by the ever-changing circumstances and (remains) committed to making every effort to arrest the spread of Covid-19 in the national capital.”

On 3 December, Delhi reported a total of 3,734 new Covid-19 cases, taking the overall case count to 5,82,058, a Delhi government health bulletin showed. With 82 fatalities, the death toll has risen to 9,424. The country’s caseload is currently at 9,571,559 after the Union health ministry on Friday reported that the country had logged a total of 36,595 infections in the previous 24 hours.

So, it’s no wonder that Maharashtrian cities, which have in the past faced a major crisis with Covid cases and mortalities are taking no chances with people coming from Delhi – a city which has seen numbers increasing yet again. Cities like Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur have made it mandatory for passengers arriving from NCR/Delhi to carry a negative RT-PCR report not earlier than 72 hours before time of landing. The rules are also applied on to those taking trains and those coming by road.

While people flying from Delhi to places like Mumbai need to have a negative RT-PCR test result, Delhi doesn’t ask for one. Here one can see queues without social distancing        Credit: Swati Dey

Air Vistara said that it had seen “a dip” since it was made mandatory to show negative RT-PCR tests for travel. A spokesperson told Patriot, “We have not seen such a marked decline but yes there is a dip in both directions — in and out. Our flights are predominantly from Delhi (and one flight from Udaipur). However, this was a long weekend in Delhi, therefore we will have to wait to see the impact over the next week”.

The announcement for a mandatory RT-PCR test for those coming from Delhi was made on 23 November. Tanvi, who lives in Delhi, says the announcement came just two days before her pre-booked flight for Mumbai with Go Air. “The waiting time for the RT-PCR test was two days at Lal Path Labs. I found another lab, and got myself tested and received the results on the same day.”

“I was asked for my RT-PCR result at the check-in counter. On the flight thankfully I didn’t have anyone sitting in the middle seat, but there were many others who had the middle seat occupied. Those sitting in the middle seat were given a PPE kit”.

But on her way back to Delhi she didn’t have to produce any negative test results because the union territory’s administration has not made any such requirement a necessity.

In Maharashtrian cities, though, even trains originating from or stopping at any stations in the NCR of Delhi passengers have to carry a negative report to deboard, with the test having been done 96 hours before arrival.

Even for Dehradun, a Covid test for Delhi passengers is a necessity which it says “will be done (free of cost) for passengers arriving from Delhi”, with those positive to be sent to the quarantine centre.

UP, which sees a steady stream of passengers from Delhi coming by road, has seen the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration on 18 November starting random testing of people coming to Noida from Delhi in view of the spike in Coronavirus cases in the national capital.

Till now, seven people have reportedly been found positive for Covid-19 during random tests of 147 people at Gautam Budh Nagar’s border. And even as other states stay vigilant, keeping an eye on people coming into their borders, in Delhi rules are still not tight enough, with no tests required, and market places full of shoppers.

(Cover Image – No social distancing norms at Sarojini Nagar market, which can be seen packed with shoppers   Credit: Gettty)

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