The Delhi government on Tuesday announced that the number of food distribution centres set up in the national Capital will be increased from 500 to 2,500 to ensure social distancing amid the countrywide lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus. The decision was made at a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant General Anil Baijal and other senior officials held via video conferencing to discuss the coronavirus situation and the three-day religious event in Nizamuddin.

Last week, Kejriwal said 325 government schools in the national Capital will be turned into temporary kitchens that will offer free lunch and dinner to four lakh people amid the countrywide lockdown.

The Delhi government is strictly monitoring the instructions on self-quarantine at home, Baijal said. “More than 20,000 homes have been identified for home quarantine,” he added.

Baijal said ensuring social distancing is top priority at the moment. “There have been reports about violations of social distancing norms at some food distribution centres.” he tweeted.“My advice to administration and police is to keep very strict watch on social distancing and home quarantine,” he added. “ Take deterrent actions for any violation and widely publicise. Separately, action to ramp up medical facilities to be expedited,”

After the meeting that was also attended by state finance minister Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyendra Jain, the Lieutenant Governor said the administration will continue undertaking awareness programs about social distancing. “Information,education and communication activities need to be intensified on ground. Social distancing norms have to be ingrained in one,” Baijal added.

India reported its sharpest spike in the number of the coronavirus cases on Monday as 227 people tested positive in 24 hours, taking the country’s total to 1,251 with 32 deaths. Kerala has the highest number of positive cases at 202, followed by Maharashtra at 198.

Many people from across the country who tested positive for Covid-19 had attended a religious event in Nizamuddin area of Delhi or were close contacts of the participants. Health Minister Satyendra Jain said 24 people staying at the mosque have tested positive for the coronavirus. He added that 1,033 people have been evacuated so far and of these 334 of them have been sent to hospital and 700 sent to quarantine center, ANI reported.

As reported previously, thousands of Indians and hundreds of foreigners had attended the conference that took place on March 9 and 10 in the densely populated Nizamuddin area of Delhi. Ten of the 17 confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu on March 30 were also of people who had participated in the congregation. Meanwhile, in Telangana, six people who attended the event have died from the coronavirus.

The conference was organised by the Tablighi Jamaat preachers at the Alami Markaz Banglewali Masjid in Delhi. An Islamic evangelical organisation, the Jamaat, an offshoot of the Deobandi movement, has its presence in several parts of India and countries in South Asia and South-East Asia. Many also fanned out across the country to recruit people after this, raising concerns about the scale of the potential spread of infection at the conference.

Delhi reported a 47% spike in the number of Covid-19 patients on Sunday, as 23 new cases took the total to 72 so far, the Chief Minister’s Office said. This is the highest single-day spike recorded in the city till now.