Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that all gatherings of more than five people in the national Capital were henceforth prohibited, in view of the coronavirus pandemic. In a media briefing, Kejriwal said that if five or more people do gather at a particular place, they should maintain a distance of one metre from each other.

Last week, the Delhi government had banned gatherings of 20 or more people.

The chief minister also announced a slew of measures to provide relief to the poor in the face of restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Delhi government has shut down shops, restaurants, malls, pubs and other public places till March 31 – places where a large working class is employed.

Kejriwal said the government will pay pension worth Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month to 8.5 lakh beneficiaries by April 7. He added that free rations, with 50% more quantity than normal, will be provided to 72 lakh people.

The chief minister said lunch and dinner will be served free to each and every person at all night shelters put up by the Delhi government. He added that those who need to be quarantined and opt for the paid hotel facility will have the Goods and Services Tax component of their bills waived.

“My sincere appeal to all senior citizens – please, please stay indoors as far as possible,” the chief minister said. “As the most vulnerable group, we need to take special care so that you remain free from infection. I urge you to skip your morning/evening walks for the time being.”

Kejriwal had earlier in the day announced that all Delhi government press conferences will henceforth be conducted digitally. “It’s very important that all journalists, who are on the forefront of our battle against Corona, also protect themselves as they are in a high exposure environment,” he tweeted.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 283 coronavirus cases have been detected in India so far, of which 26 are in Delhi. As many as four people have died of COVID-19 in India, and one in Delhi. The global toll is over 11,000.