Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing masks in Delhi as Covid cases soar
With coronavirus cases on the rise in Delhi, the AAP Government on Thursday announced several measures to address the situation. Of them, the Government announced Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing masks. Also, it announced reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals, doubling testing centres in every district and postponement of non-critical surgeries at health facilities.
Addressing an online media briefing, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the fine for not wearing masks has been raised from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000. The hard line by the AAP Government comes days after Kejriwal repeatedly appealed to Delhiites to wear masks amid a surge in coronavirus cases.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said in the all-party meeting held today in the wake of a surge in Corona cases in Delhi, all political parties have agreed to collectively serve the people of Delhi by leaving politics aside in this time of corona calamity.
He also said non-emergency operations in hospitals across Delhi will be stalled for a few days in the wake of rising Corona cases. He also appealed to the people of Delhi to celebrate Chhath Puja inside their homes, so that they are not exposed to the risk of getting infected by corona. The CM said that even with a huge spike in corona cases in Delhi, the doctors, nurses, and all medical fraternity in Delhi are doing a commendable job for the treatment of corona patients.
Kejriwal said: “To deliberate on the situation related to Corona in Delhi, an all-party meeting was convened today. Some great suggestions were received from all the parties, and we will work on implementing all the suggestions in Delhi. This is a difficult situation for Delhiites when Corona is on a surge, and this is not the time to play politics. We have to keep politics, making political statements and remarks, and blaming each other aside, since this is the time to serve the people so that we are able to protect our people from Corona. The coming generations will remember us for our service to the people when Delhi was going through this difficult time. All the parties agreed to serve the people of the country, as Delhiites and as Indians. I am glad that all parties have supported this.”
Kejriwal said for the last few days, a lot of political blaming is happening on the issue of Chhath Puja. He said: “We celebrate Chhath Puja, especially our Purvanchali brothers and sisters celebrate Chhath Puja. We also want our brothers and sisters to celebrate Chhath Puja this time, as many people believe in it. You consider me your son and your brother, I am a part of your family. I also 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 of them is Corona infected, everyone will 100% get infected. Experts say the Corona will be transmitted through that water and hundreds of people will get infected. We have only disallowed celebrating Chhath Puja in a public water pond or any water body in the open, we have not disallowed celebrating Chhath Puja. Let’s celebrate Chhath Puja by staying indoors. Because of these risks, many state governments have banned the celebration of Chhath Puja in public water bodies and ponds, including the Gujarat government which has restricted it in Surat and Ahmedabad, Haryana govt has banned it in Panchkula, Maharashtra govt has banned it in Mumbai. Why would we want to restrict Chhath Puja celebrations? The Delhi government allocates a separate budget for this festival to be celebrated in Delhi since we have come into power. But right now, we are going through a pandemic, because of which we are taking this step. Please celebrate Chhath Puja in your home, and do not celebrate it in public water ponds to prevent yourself and your family from getting infected from COVID. I want to appeal again, Chhath Puja is the purest festival, but Corona is a big pandemic. Please do not do politics on the matter.”
Delhi has 7461 beds in all the government and private hospitals across the national capital, and around 446 ICUs are available.
Kejriwal said: “The Delhi Government has taken many significant decisions to increase the number of ICU beds in Delhi. After the permit of the High Court last week, we had allocated around 80% of the ICU beds across 30-32 hospitals for the treatment of Corona patients. This order has today been implemented on private hospitals in Delhi, we hope that around 300-400 private hospital beds will now be available for the treatment of Corona patients. The reservation of non-ICU beds in private hospitals has been increased from 50% to 60% for a few days. All non-critical planned surgeries will be stalled or postponed for a few days. For instance, if you have a tonsils operation, you can schedule it after a few months too as it is not an emergency.
“There are many such surgeries that can be scheduled for later months. We will request the hospitals in this regard. As I said yesterday, we will increase around 663 beds in other Delhi government hospitals in the next few days, and the Central government has assured us an additional 750 beds in the Central govt hospitals, which means that we will have around 1413 additional ICU beds in the next few days in Delhi.”
“I want to thank our doctors and workers and salute them for their hard work and for managing the situation of Corona in Delhi.”