The Delhi Police on Tuesday advised all those invited to the Independence Day celebrations at the Red Fort to avoid attending if they have symptoms of Covid-19 two weeks prior to the event and have not been tested for the virus, PTI reported. Invitees have also been asked to adhere to the coronavirus-related guidelines issued by the health ministry and home ministry.
Ushers will be present at the event to guide attendees to their designated seats. The attendees have been further advised not to crowd at the gates at the end of the event and wait for the ushers.
On July 24, the Centre had said that the Independence Day celebrations will take place with proper safety measures and crowd restrictions and also issued a standard operating procedure for festivities at the national, state and district levels.
An unidentified Archaeological Survey of India official told The Indian Express that about 250 people will be present for the prime minister’s Independence Day address at Red Fort, as opposed to the usual 1,000 or so invitees. Ministers, top diplomats, and senior political leaders usually attend the event organised at the Red Fort.
The number of security personnel has, however, not been reduced for the event. A senior police official said about 4,000 security personnel will be present and adhere to physical distancing norms.
More than 350 police personnel who will be part of the guard of honour have been quarantined at a newly-built police colony in the Delhi Cantonment area. The defence personnel – from the Delhi police, Army, Navy and Air Force – participating in the occasion have been asked to limit their activities, NDTV reported on Sunday. The officers’ travel has been limited to going to rehearsals and returning home.
A multi-layer security team comprising National Security Guard snipers and SWAT teams will be in place for the August 15 event.
The Delhi police also said that lunch boxes, water bottles, remote-controlled car keys, cigarette lighters, briefcases, handbags, cameras, binoculars, umbrellas, among other things will not be allowed. Restrictions on flying sub-conventional aerial platforms such as hand gliders, hot air balloons, remote-controlled aircraft, etcetera have been put in place.
In view of the pandemic, police personnel tasked with frisking will wear personal protective equipment or PPE kits.
India on Wednesday reported 60,963 cases of the coronavirus, taking the tally to 23,29,639. The toll rose by 834 to 46,091. While there are 6,43,948 actives cases, 16,39,599 have recovered from the virus, according to the health ministry.