Irked by Covid norms violation, HC asks Centre, Delhi to explain

Our Bureaus New Delhi/Mumbai June 18 | Updated on June 18, 2021

Delhi witnessed heavy traffic jam on Thursday following relaxation of Covid lockdown norms. A scene at Anand Vihar. - Moorthy RV

Maharashtra Covid Taskforce warns of a third wave by year-end

The Delhi High Court has taken a stern view of the complete absence of Covid-appropriate behaviour, as the Capital unlocked and people flooded markets, and malls. And this, even as health experts in Mumbai warned of a third wave, possibly by the year end.

Taking suo motu cognisance of Covid-protocol violations as the Capital unlocks after the second wave, the Delhi HC on Friday issued notices to the Centre and the Delhi Government, asking them to file a status report in the matter by July 7.

A Bench of justices Navin Chawla and Asha Menon remarked on pictures produced by a doctor from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the court. “The memory of the second wave has not left us, yet people behave in this manner. This is very unfortunate,” the Court observed. “We have paid a huge price in the second wave. We don’t know if there is any household which has not suffered in the second wave, closely or remotely,” the Bench observed.

The images showed crowded market places and people without masks and not following Covid-appropriate behaviour. The Court directed the deployment of civil defence and police personnel in markets to enforce social distancing and compliance of Covid-19 protocol, especially wearing of masks. The judges also asked the Centre and the Delhi Government to take strict measures, sensitise shopkeepers and hold meetings with markets and vendors associations for enforcing Covid-appropriate behaviour.

Third wave

In Maharashtra, the Covid taskforce warned of a third wave — another surge in Covid-19 cases — by the year-end. Possibly between September and December, said Shashank Joshi, member of the taskforce. While reports suggested that the third wave could be here as early as mid-July; he said, the two waves were at least eight weeks apart in the UK.

Asked if the next surge would be more lethal, he said, it was difficult to gauge the impact. But a watch needed to be kept on the susceptible population, he said, including those in slums which may see a population with declining antibody levels.

The State has been taking stock of its medicine, medical equipment and oxygen inventory, even as it undertakes a graded unlock, keeping an eye on the positivity rate and hospital-bed occupancy level. The concern is also the monsoon, and officials cautioned that a third wave would only be hastened if people abandoned Covid-appropriate behaviour of masking and avoiding crowded places.

Published on June 18, 2021

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