With COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate rising in Delhi, the district officials have started forming teams to strictly enforce the mask mandate and issue a fine of Rs 500 to violators, officials said.
The district magistrates have been instructed to ensure that the laxity that had set in due to the reduction in cases is corrected and wearing masks in public places is strictly enforced, a senior Revenue department officer said.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority(DDMA) has noted that the positivity rate of COVID-19 infection has increased in Delhi over the past fortnight, according to an order issued by the South Delhi district.
"The DDMA after examining all the relevant facts related to the issue of penal provisions for not adhering to covid protocol of wearing of mask at public places decided that, in relation to the clause 3(h)(c) whereby not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places has been made an offence, a fine of Rs 500 for not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places in Delhi will be imposed," the order said.
The fine will not be applicable to persons travelling together in private four-wheelers, it said.
The South Delhi district magistrate has formed three teams for enforcement of wearing face masks in public places.
The teams will work under the supervision of tehsildars from the concerned sub-divisions who will monitor the enforcement exercise and report on a daily basis the number of challans issued to the Coordination Branch of the district, it said.
Each team will comprise 15 civil defence volunteers besides the district officials to visit public places such as markets.
Strict compliance of COVID protocol will be enforced in view of the spike in infections, said South East district magistrate Isha Khosla.
"We will ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed at crowded places such as markets, which are attracting more crowds due to festivals," she said.
Enforcement teams are being formed and their number will be increased if needed. The number of teams in the sub divisions depends on need at the ground, it is 4-5 at present, she added.
Delhi on Wednesday reported eight deaths due to coronavirus - the highest in nearly 180 days, according to data shared by the health department here. The city on Wednesday reported 2,146 new COVID cases with a positivity rate of 17.83 per cent.
On Tuesday, Delhi had reported 2,495 new coronavirus cases with a positivity rate of 15.41 per cent and seven fatalities.
On Saturday, Delhi recorded 2,311 COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 13.84 per cent and one fatality.
There were 1,372 cases and six deaths on Sunday, as the case positivity rate rose to 17.85 per cent - the highest since January 21, it said.
The number of fresh cases has been above 2,000 in the past one week. It was 2,419 on Friday, 2,202 on Thursday, and 2,073 on Wednesday.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Delhi stands at 8,205, down from 8,506 the previous day. As many as 5,549 patients are in home isolation, the bulletin said.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the government was keeping a close watch on the situation and would take all the steps needed.
He, however, said that despite the rise in COVID cases there was no cause for panic as most new infections were mild in nature.