Covid-19: Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing mask in Delhi

Covid-19: Delhi hikes fines for not wearing masks to Rs 2,000; hospitals told to increase non-ICU beds

Kejriwal appeals to people not to celebrate Chhath at ponds and other water bodies

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal holds an all-party meeting on Covid-19 situation in Delhi. Credit: PTI/Twitter/@ArvindKejriwal.

Not wearing masks in Delhi will pinch one's pockets with the Arvind Kejriwal government on Thursday hiking the fines for non-compliance from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000, saying several people are still not adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

The city government is also planning to increase the number of RT-PCR tests from the current 18,000 to 27,000 even as an all-party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Kejriwal decided to take market associations in confidence before shutting down markets, which may emerge as Covid-19 hotspots.

Read | HC raps Delhi govt on Covid-19 situation, asks why it didn't 'wake up' when numbers were spiralling

The decision to increase the fine on not wearing masks was taken against the backdrop of rising cases in the capital and people not adhering to Covid-19 protocols, which was highlighted during review meetings held by the Centre.

"Most people in Delhi are wearing masks, but some people are still not adhering to rules; it has been decided to increase the fine from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000," he said after briefing Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal about Covid-19 situation in the capital.

In the meeting, he said, it was agreed that there was a need to "create an effective deterrent" to sensitise people towards wearing masks and to generate awareness in the people regarding adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols.

"We both agreed on the fact that even though many people are following Covid-19 protocols and wearing masks, there are still many people who are not wearing masks. They are defying the Covid-19 protocols and exposing themselves and others to the risk of contacting Covid-19. Sometimes, when words do not do the task, imposing restrictions on them becomes necessary," Kejriwal said.

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With Chhatt Puja festival falling on Friday, he also appealed to people to celebrate it in their houses rather than come to water bodies to perform pujas.

Delhi government has restricted Chhath Puja celebrations at riverbanks, ponds and other public places due to the threat of the infection.

"I am a part of your family, I want the two crore people of Delhi to celebrate Chhath Puja, but if around 200 people go in a water pond, and even if one out of them is Corona infected, everyone will 100% get infected," Kejriwal said.

Delhi authorities have also allowed all Covid-19 facilities to engage MBBS students in fourth and fifth years, interns and others to assist doctors on duty at a fixed honorarium.

District Magistrates have also been asked to take steps to immediately double the number of testing centres in their respective districts.