Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday announced that the fine for not wearing a mask in the national capital has been increased to Rs 2000 from Rs 500. In an urge to the religious heads and other officials, he asked them to ensure that their workers and officers commute in the city wearing a mask as well as distribute masks at public places in Delhi. His announcement comes at a time when Delhi is witnessing a high surge in COVID-19 cases.
“A lot of people are wearing a face mask but some are still not adhering to the rules. The fine has now been increased for ₹500 to ₹2,000,” Kejriwal stated.
Highlighting the importance of the festive season and the need to celebrate it outside, Kejriwal stated in a press conference, “You can imagine that COVID-19 will be spread on a large scale. So, celebrations are not banned. What is banned is the entering of a large number of people in a pond or river at once. Let’s celebrate at homes.”
“Delhi government will also urge the hospitals to stall non-emergency operations so that COVID-19 patients get the maximum care. If you have a tonsils operation, you can schedule it next month too as it is not an emergency. We will request the hospitals in this regard,” Kejriwal said.
Keeping in mind the approaching Chhath Puja, Kejriwal said, “We want our brothers and sisters to celebrate Chhath Puja very nicely. Please celebrate but if 200 people enter into a pond at a time, and even if just one of them has COVID-19, all of them will contract the infection. This is also the opinion of experts.”
“Arrangements being made for over 1,400 ICU beds, including 663 in Delhi government hospitals and 750 at Centre-run facilities,” the CM added alongside informing that the government is implementing the decision to reserve 80 percent of ICU beds in private hospitals for COVID-19 patients from Thursday.
Addressing the virus surge in the capital, AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj said that he will increase the daily conduction of the number of RTPCR from around 18,000 to 27,000 and that he will also meet market associations if any decision is taken on shutting down markets in view of a COVID-19 surge. Speaking to reporters after a party gathering, he said that he suggested that market associations should be given a chance to put forth their views and take precautionary measures to contain the virus spread.
“The city has added 43,109 new cases (11 percent rise) since last week—nearly one in six of all cases reported in India. This has taken Delhi’s total case-load past 500,000. With more and more patients under treatment, Delhi is now one of only eight states and Union territories with a recovery rate below 90 percent,” a report stated.
In lieu of COVID-19, Delhi High Court on Thursday asked AAP government if it could explain to the ones who had lost their near and dear ones to COVID-19 in the past few weeks as to why the administration did not take steps when cases were spiralling in Delhi. It suggested the government to look at the situation with a “magnifying glass”.
A bench headed by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad charged the Delhi government as to why did it wait till the court intervened to take steps such as reducing the number of people attending weddings to 50 to contain the spread of the virus.