January 28, 2023

Source: hindustantimes.com

The decision to junk mask mandate was taken in wake of significant improvement in Covid pandemic and low test positivity rate for the last several weeks together

Delhi government on Thursday issued an order lifting fine of 500 for not wearing face masks in public places in the national Capital.

The government, however, advised people to keep wearing masks in public places because the coronavirus pandemic is not over yet.

The decision to junk mask mandate was taken in wake of significant improvement in Covid pandemic and low test positivity rate for the last several weeks together.

“Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) has decided that compulsory wearing of masks under the Epidemic Act may not be extended beyond 30.09.2022 and hence, a fine of 500/- for not wearing of masks in public places would also stand withdrawn after 30.09.2022. Now therefore, the order dated 22.04.2022 in which there is a provision to impose a penalty of 500/- on general public for not wearing face mask in public places, stands withdrawn after 30.09.2022. However, in crowded public places, all public are advised to wear mask,” stated an order issued by SK Jain, special secretary health and family welfare on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Delhi reported 107 new fresh Covid cases and 119 recoveries. Delhi currently has 488 active Covid cases and hospitalisation is negligible, said a health department official, adding that this has been the trend in Covid cases for the past several weeks.

The prevailing Covid situation prompted DDMA on September 22 to decide that 500 fine for not wearing masks in public places should be scrapped.

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The authority, however, stressed that the relaxation does not mean that people should stop wearing masks.

Revenue minister Kailash Gahlot told HT that the district authorities have been asked to create awareness among people about wearing masks and focusing on crowd management in markets and other crowd attracting places during the festival season.

“Though the fine for not wearing masks has been withdrawn, the district authorities have been asked to focus on vaccination, especially giving booster doses to eligible people. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is actively monitoring the situation. I will appeal to people to follow Covid guidelines and wear masks in public places for the safety of everyone,” said Gahlot.

Delhi has so far imposed a 500 fine for not wearing masks in public places.

In November 2020, this penalty was increased to 2,000, as the city began to record a surge in infections. This was then reduced to 500 on February 26 as the Omicron wave of Covid-19 began to ease and cases began to fall. The Delhi government dropped the fine on not wearing face masks in public on April 2, but re-imposed on April 21.

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