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Fresh Covid cases cross 1,000; govt reimposes fines for mask violations

All schools, colleges and other educational institutions would remain open with strict Covid protocols in place, and a separate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be prepared for schools in consultation with experts, said officials present in the meeting.

Written by Gayathri Mani | New Delhi |
Updated: April 21, 2022 1:54:45 am
A fine of Rs 500 will be imposed in case of any violations.

Masks have been made mandatory in public places in the national capital once again, with the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) reimposing a fine of Rs 500. This comes even as the number of fresh Covid cases in Delhi shot past the 1,000-mark on Wednesday.

All schools, colleges and other educational institutions would remain open with strict Covid protocols in place, and a separate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be prepared for schools in consultation with experts, said officials present in the meeting. The enforcement drive against mask violations is likely to start on Thursday.

The city reported 1,009 cases, a sharp spike as compared to Tuesday when 632 cases were registered. The positivity rate, which saw a dip a day ago, rose to 5.7%, and one death was recorded.

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Fines for not wearing masks were lifted on April 2, when the city recorded 131 cases. Cases had been dipping from the last week of March and were in double digits for two days on April 4 and 5. On April 13, 299 cases were recorded, following which, it increased by a minimum of 100 every day till April 19, and by 377 on Wednesday.

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During the meeting, chaired by L-G Anil Baijal and attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot and senior officials from the health and revenue departments, the Delhi government informed the DDMA that the Chief Minister is closely monitoring the situation, and that the deputy CM has already issued an SOP to schools, said officials.

“Aggressive Covid testing in Metro and railway stations, and airports will restart soon. More emphasis will be laid on vaccination as it has helped to fight the disease, and Rs 500 fine for not wearing masks will be imposed, along with strict enforcement drives,” said an official.

On April 13, Ajay Bisht, deputy secretary of the Health and Family Welfare department, had also issued an order to all districts magistrates to continue services of doctors and staff hired for vaccinations, testing, surveillance, and management of the infection in Covid hospitals and DHCs till July 30.

Officials said the authority has asked to keep a close watch over XE variant, which is likely to be more transmissible. The DDMA has also sought genome sequencing tests on all RT-PCR positive samples. All RT-PCR samples collected from April 9-12 will be sent for sequencing at ILBS to ascertain new variants, said officials.

Hospitalisation trends will be also closely watched over the next fortnight, said the official. Testing of people with symptoms will be scaled up and district authorities have been directed to promote vaccination for all eligible age groups. Special attention and care will be given to people with co-morbidities, said the official.

Further, departments and authorities concerned have been directed to keep an eye on gatherings like weddings, protests and other events.

District authorities, meanwhile, said the government has issued an order to engage civil defence volunteers again for the enforcement drive.

“We are yet to obtain an official order. Once we receive it, the enforcement drive and action plan will be implemented to control the spread of cases. We expect it will come by this evening,” said a senior district official.

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