Gatherings of 50 plus banned in Delhi, weddings exempt

New Delhi, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- The New Delhi government imposed new measures on Monday to curb the slow but steady increase of coronavirus cases, but lavish Indian weddings, which are well known for gathering many, so far remain exempt of the restrictions.

“Except weddings, no religious, social, cultural and political gatherings comprising more than 50 people will be allowed in Delhi till March 31. The restriction is applicable to protests too,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters.

Kejriwal did advise those planning on getting married to consider postponing the event in light of current circumstances.

Wedding celebrations in India are joyous and colourful events that often last for several days and can easily draw hundreds of guests.

Despite the waiver on weddings, schools, discos, gyms, swimming pools and cinemas will all be forced to shut in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

“We are not expecting any cancellation of weddings, but other social events such as corporate or conferences are being 100 % cancelled” Fani Yadav, manager at wedding planner Akhil Paul, told Efe.

Although restrictions are limited to the capital, home to some 20 million people, other regions in India have also rolled out measures, including the closure of schools.

The government suspended most tourist visas until 15 April to stop the arrival of tourists and limit imported cases of coronavirus.

The main message is focused on reducing social interactions to a minimum.

“Avoiding non-essential travel and minimising social outings are welcome steps,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter on Monday.

According to the latest data provided by the Indian Ministry of Health, 114 cases of Covid-19 have been registered, 13 people have recovered and two have died.

Other countries in the region, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, have also recorded a spike in the number of infections sparking fears the disease could spread beyond the capacity of weak healthcare systems.

In India, there is also the risk of the virus denting the national economy which is highly dependent on imports from China across some sectors, according to the governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das.

“Efforts are being mounted by the government on a war footing to arrest the spread of coronavirus through social distancing, preventive measures and by issuing health advisories,” Das said.

“COVID-19 could impact economic activity in India directly through trade channels, especially through electronics, drugs, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, etc. in which the exposure to China is relatively high,” the chief of the RBI said.

According to the governor, this could cause a slowdown in the growth of the domestic economy.

India’s GDP has declined to 4.7 percent in the third quarter of the fiscal year. Unemployment reached its highest figures in 45 years. EFE/EPA


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