COVID-19: Spitting, tobacco consumption in public locations to draw Rs 2,000 high-quality in Delhi

New Delhi, November 20

Spitting and consumption of tobacco in public places, violation of COVID-19 quarantine rules, not wearing of masks and not maintaining social distancing will now attract a fine of Rs 2,000 in the national Capital, according to a notification issued by the Delhi Government on Friday.

The increase in the fine amount from earlier Rs 500 came at a time the national Capital recorded a spike in coronavirus cases.

The notification was issued by the Health Department following Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s approval.

“The authorised persons shall be empowered to impose a fine of Rs 2,000 for offence of violating the directives pertaining to observation of quarantine rule, making of social distancing, wearing of face mask in all public places, prohibition of spitting at public places and prohibition of consumption of paan, gutka, tobacco, etc. in public places,” stated the notification.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced sweeping measures to tackle the pandemic, including a steep Rs 2,000 fine for not wearing masks, reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in private hospitals and doubling of testing centres in every district.

The CM had met LG Anil Baijal and they decided that the fine for not wearing face mask should be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000.

The decision came in the wake of a sudden surge in the COVID-19 cases in Delhi.     

Kejriwal had said that even though the people of Delhi were supporting the government in their fight against pandemic, there was leniency in following COVID-19 safety protocols.        

He said that in the meeting with Baijal, it was agreed that there was a need to “create an effective deterrent” to sensitise people towards wearing masks and to generate awareness regarding adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.

The national Capital has witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases since October 28, when the daily caseload breached the 5,000-mark for the first time, and it crossed the 8,000-mark on November 11.

As many as 7,546 fresh COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, taking the infection tally to over 5.1 lakh while 98 more fatalities pushed the toll to 8,041.

The government has directed 90 private hospitals to increase the percentage of non-ICU COVID-19 beds from 50 per cent to 60 per cent of their respective capacity.

The government will increase the number of RT-PCR test to 27,000 a day in the national capital and MBBS students and interns will be engaged to tackle the COVID-19 situation.

Arrangements are also being made for over 1,400 ICU beds, including 663 in Delhi government hospitals and 750 at a central government facility, Kejriwal had said.

Hospitals have also been asked to postpone non-critical planned surgeries for the time being in view of the pandemic situation. PTI

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