The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Wednesday made wearing of masks mandatory and imposed a fine of Rs 500 for violation, according to officials cited by PTI.
The directive was issued in a DDMA meeting on Wednesday chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. The meeting was called in light of the recent surge in Delhi's COVID-19 infections and positivity rate in the national capital.
The DDMA also decided to not close schools, but chose to come up with a separate standard operating procedure in consultation with experts.
The Delhi government had removed the mask requirement earlier this month. In the light of recent surge, however, experts have said that masks need to be enforced strictly.
The mask mandate was expected as Uttar Pradesh issued a similar directive in six of its National Capital Region districts adjoining Delhi — Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Bulandshahr, and Baghpat. The mask mandate was also issued for the state capital Lucknow. Earlier last week, the UP government put all the state's NCR districts on alert in light of the COVID-19 surge in Delhi.
Delhi has seen a three-fold COVID-19 surge over the past week. Compared to around 200 daily cases a week, Delhi is now reporting 500-600 new infections every day. The positivity rate was also 2.7 on 11 April that touched 7.72 on Monday. Delhi on Tuesday reported 632 new coronavirus cases at a positivity rate of 4.42 per cent.
With PTI inputs