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Wearing masks must in Delhi again, Rs 500 fine for violators

Wearing masks must in Delhi again, Rs 500 fine for violators
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New Delhi: In view of the spike in Coronavirus cases in the city, the Delhi government on Wednesday said it was making wearing of face masks mandatory in public places and re-imposing a fine of Rs 500 on anyone found violating this rule.

The government is expected to issue an official order regarding the mandatory use of masks soon. Sources said authorities have been asked to keep a close watch on social gatherings and ramp up testing in the national Capital.

The government's move to bring back a strong mask mandate comes a few weeks after it removed the fine for not wearing masks citing a decent recovery from the Omicron wave of the pandemic earlier this year.

After the DDMA meeting, officials aware of developments said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is closely monitoring the situation and instructions have been issued to officials for taking steps to check the spread of the virus and preparations for treatment of Covid patients.

In the DDMA meeting, emphasis was laid on vaccination of eligible groups as it will help keep in check the impact of the pandemic, officials added.

Several participants asserted that there was no need to panic since the number of hospitalisations was low despite a rise in new Covid cases, they said.

Officials said the DDMA, in its meeting, also decided not to shut schools for now but chose to come up with a separate Standard Operating Procedure in consultation with experts.

It was highlighted that the trends of hospitalisation needed to be closely monitored for the next fortnight as well as conducting genome sequencing of all positive samples put through RT-PCR test.

It was also decided to raise the number of tests being done with the focus on people with symptoms, they said. According to official figures, there are 9,735 beds for Covid patients in Delhi hospitals and just 80 (0.82 per cent) of them are occupied.

On Tuesday, Delhi recorded a nearly 26 per cent jump in fresh Covid cases, with 632 fresh cases (4.42 per cent positivity) reported in a day.

Delhi recorded 1,009 fresh infections on Wednesday, 60 per cent more than Tuesday, and one death with 5.70 per cent positivity rate.

Meanwhile, with 2,067 new infections being reported in a day, India's total tally of Covid cases rose to 4,30,47,594 while the active cases increased to 12,340, according to the Union Health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The death toll climbed to 5,22,006 with 40 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am stated.

The active cases comprise 0.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid recovery rate remained at 98.76 per cent, the ministry said.

An increase of 480 cases has been recorded in the active Covid caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.49 per cent and the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.38 per cent, according to the ministry.

The cumulative number of Covid vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 187 crore on Wednesday, according to the ministry.

More than 13 lakh (13,69,541) vaccine doses were administered till 7 pm on Wednesday, the ministry said, adding that the daily vaccination tally is expected to go up with the compilation of the final reports by late night.

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