After Gurugram (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh), the Delhi government on Wednesday made masks compulsory in the National Capital Territory, in view of rising Covid cases. A set of new guidelines will also be issued for schools, failure to adhere to which would lead to penalties.

Over the last few days several schools in Delhi and the NCR have been reporting Covid cases among students and teaching staff leading to fears among parents. Some schools either suspended classes temporarily or shifted to online mode.

Delhi, along with NCR, has seen a sudden spurt in Covid cases. Hospitalisation though continue to be low.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), post a meeting chaired by the Lt Governor announced that it is bringing back the mask mandate in the Capital city. 

The authority, after its meeting chaired by the Delhi Lt Governor today, said that the residents of the national capital will have to compulsorily wear masks in public places. DDMA also informed that those found in violation of the rule will have to pay ₹500 in fine.

“It was decided to make the wearing of masks mandatory in public places,” the Lt Governor tweeted.

Standard Operating Procedure

Officials said the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, in its meeting, also decided not to shut schools, but chose to come up with a a separate Standard Operating Procedure in consultation with experts. The government is expected to issue an official order regarding the mandatory use of masks soon.

A tweet by Delhi’s Lt Governor said: “It was also emphasised that in consultation with experts standard operating procedures for prevention and management of Covid-19 should be laid down for schools and their strict enforcement by school management should be ensured.”

He added that in the larger interest of students, “non-compliance or violation of SOPs” will lead to a penalty “as deemed appropriate”. The penalty will be to create a deterrent effect. “Advised all the agencies to remain vigilant and work in coordination to tackle the situation as it emerges,” Lt Governor wrote on the micro-blogging site.

On Tuesday, there were 632 fresh infections in the national capital on a 24 hour basis; with the positivity rate hovering at 4.42 per cent.

India Covid cases

Meanwhile, India reported an over 65 per cent jump in daily Covid-19 infections with numbers rising to 2,067 on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the country reported 1,247 fresh cases. Active caseload was at 12,340.

The country has also administered over 2.65 crore vaccines amongst the 12 – 14 age-group as per the CoWin dashboard. Of these, over 618,600 were administered on Wednesday itself.

According to the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the daily positivity rate stood at 0.49 per cent, while the recovery rate was at 98.76 per cent.

On a 24 hour basis, the country reported 40 deaths due to the virus, which included a backlog of 32 cases from Kerala. Recoveries were at 1,547.

The Union Health Ministry has already written to the health secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Mizoram and Maharashtra alerting them of increasing cases in their respective States and a spurt in positivity rates

The country’s total vaccination exceeds 186.96 crore.