COVID-19: Will not open schools in Delhi unless fully convinced, says Kejriwal

Published: 15 August, 2020 16:55 IST | PTI | New Delhi

Delivering his Independence Day speech at the Delhi Secretariat, Kejriwal said the COVID-19 situation in the city is "quite under control" as compared to what it was two months back

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at the flag hoisting ceremony. Picture/PTI
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal at the flag hoisting ceremony. Picture/PTI

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that the Delhi government will not open schools unless it is "fully convinced" about the improved COVID-19 situation in the city.

Delivering his Independence Day speech at the Delhi Secretariat, Kejriwal said the COVID-19 situation in the city is "quite under control" as compared to what it was two months back and thanked all the stakeholders, including the central government, 'corona warriors' and different organisations.

He said in view of reports that some patients collapsed due to drop in their oxygen level even after recovering from the disease and testing negative, the Delhi government will start providing oxygen concentrators to them from next week.

The chief minister said the safety and the health of school children are very important to the AAP government.

"I meet people and get messages from them asking not to open schools. I want to assure them that we care about their children as much as they do. Unless fully convinced, we are not going to open the schools," he said.

Kejriwal said Delhi "gave the model" of home isolation and plasma therapy concept to the country in the fight against the pandemic.

He said reviving the economy is the biggest challenge but expressed confidence that it will be brought back on track with the cooperation of Delhiites. Efforts are being made for this, he said.

This year, the city government shifted its Independence Day event to the Delhi Secretariat from Chhatrasal Stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The government also provided Rs 1 crore ex gratia to the family of "corona warriors" who died while serving the COVID-19 patients, he said, adding that this sent a message that his government cares for them.

"The Delhi model is being talked about in the country and has emerged as a study case in the world. It is an outcome of working by taking everyone together. Home isolation was a scientifically thought model to provide a hospital bed to serious patients and treat mild ones at home," he said.

At a time when the whole world is struggling against coronavirus, the situation is "quite under control in Delhi thanks to its two crore people", Kejriwal said.

"In June, there was an atmosphere of fear and people were leaving the city due to the spread of coronavirus. The situation is quite under control as compared to what it was two months back," he said.

He cited various steps of the government to strengthen Delhi's economy, including the launch of a job portal for "matchmaking" between employers and job seekers and reducing VAT on diesel, resulting in a drop of over Rs 8 in the price of the fuel, and termed it a "historic" move.

Kejriwal unfurled the tricolor at the function and also presented Presidential Correctional Service Medals to five officials of Delhi prisons. The function was also attended by corona warriors.

He lauded Delhiites for achieving various milestones in the past five years like bringing down deaths caused by dengue to zero last year.

"We must not forget dengue while fighting coronavirus. This year too, we will launch the 'Das Hafte' campaign against dengue in the first week of September."

Last year, the chief minister had launched the '10 Hafte 10 Baje 10 Minute' campaign to fight against dengue.

He said Independence Day is the occasion to remember all martyrs and freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ashfaqullah, Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar and Jawahar Lal Nehru who fought and made sacrifices for the freedom of the country.

"We must also remember those who sacrificed for the freedom of the country and safe borders after 1947. Twenty soldiers died recently in the China border clash," he said.

Remembering Bhagat Singh, he said, "We must pledge to work for an India where people have a good education and health services and enjoy equality." 

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