The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) will no longer levy fines on people not wearing masks in public places in the national capital, senior officials said on Thursday, as the city’s COVID-19 graph continued to flatline, with the caseload at its lowest since mid-December last year.
“Delhi will stop imposing fines for not wearing masks. This decision is likely to come into effect from Friday. Currently, the fine is Rs 500. However, this does not mean that the Delhi government endorses people not wearing masks. Intensive campaigns will be conducted to promote wearing of masks,” said a senior government official who attended the Thursday DDMA meeting, where this move was made.
To be sure, DDMA did not issue an order to this effect till the time of going to print.
Delhi has had a mask mandate in place since March 23, 2020, two days before the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 came into effect.
Delhi’s COVID-19 caseload has been on a downward spiral for weeks now, as the fifth wave began to ease towards the end of January this year. The city added 113 cases yesterday at a test positivity rate of 0.49%. The city logged an average of 103 cases each day over the past week.
Senior officials said Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who is the chairperson of the DDMA, directed districts, hospitals and dispensaries to conduct sentinel surveillance, which means that those who show flu like symptoms in health care centres will be tested for Covid-19. It is likely that the Delhi Disaster Management Act will also be lifted, officials said, though an order in this regard was not issued either.
In Maharashtra, the government has decided to lift all COVID curbs from tomorrow.
“Gudi Padwa is the beginning of the new year. This is the day to start new work… For the past two years, we’ve successfully battled the deadly Covid and today it seems to be fading. To make a fresh start, the restrictions imposed… under the Disaster Management Act as well as the Epidemic Diseases Act are being completely lifted from Gudi Padwa (April 2),” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a statement.
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