Will mask mandate be back in Delhi? DDMA meet on Apr 20 to decide it as Covid cases sees uptick
New Delhi, Apr 14: In view of an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the national capital, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will hold a meeting on April 20 in which it may consider reimposing the mandatory use of face masks, officials said on Thursday.
Delhi reported 325 fresh COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a marked rise from 137 cases reported on Monday. The positivity rate stood at 2.39 per cent, according to data shared by the city health department. "The Delhi Disaster Management Authority meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday next week under the chairmanship of Lt Governor Anil Baijal. It will discuss the prevailing Covid situation, including the recent rise in the number of cases," a senior Delhi government official said.
The DDMA may reconsider its earlier decision to lift the fine on not wearing face masks in public places as a lot of people have stopped using it despite the increase in infections. The health department of the Delhi government, in an order on April 2, had said that fines will not be imposed for not wearing face masks at public places.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor urged L-G Anil Baijal and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to make face masks mandatory at all places, including public transport, offices, shops and cinemas. As per an official notice, the meeting will take place at 11 am on April 20.
The ongoing vaccination programme in the national capital will also be discussed. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the Delhi government is keeping an eye on the COVID-19 situation and there is no need to panic since hospitalisations are low.
His deputy, Manish Sisodia, said the government will soon issue guidelines for schools in view of the slight rise in COVID-19 cases. There have been reports of some schoolchildren testing positive for COVID-19 in Delhi and the National Capital Region. Doctors have said it is "not a panic situation" as the daily case count is still low, even as they cautioned against lowering guard.
No fresh fatality due to COVID-19 was recorded on Thursday. Earlier this month, the DDMA decided to withdraw the fine on not wearing face masks at public places. In February, the DDMA lifted all restrictions in the wake of the significant improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the city.
The number of daily COVID-19 cases in Delhi had touched the record high of 28,867 on January 13 this year during the third wave of the pandemic. The city had recorded a positivity rate of 30.6 per cent on January 14, the highest during the third wave of the pandemic which was largely driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus. PTI