India on Wednesday morning recorded it's highest ever single day COVID-19 case tally, clocking 1,15,736 new infections and more than 600 deaths. As the 'second wave' of the pandemic paints an increasingly grim picture, various states have adopted precautionary measures including night curfews, closure of shops, demarcation of containment zones and more. At the same time, many Chief Ministers and experts have begun urging the Central government to expand the vaccination drive.
The Delhi government had on Tuesday announced a night curfew that will be in effect from 10 pm to 5 am, till the end of April. Medical facilities have also been expanded in the national capital, as cases increased from a couple hundred per day to over 5000 new cases on Tuesday. Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday informed that the number of beds in hospitals has been increased by more than 2,000 in the past 3 days to accommodate the rising coronavirus cases.
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that wearing of a mask in a vehicle is compulsory during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the vehicle is occupied only by its driver. Comparing masks to a 'suraksha kavach' a single judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh dismissed writ petitions challenging the imposition of fines on persons by the Delhi government for wearing masks while travelling alone in private vehicles.
In the meantime, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party has repeatedly urged the Centre to expand their vaccination drive. AAP leaders also congregated outside the BJP headquarters on Wednesday afternoon to protest against the export of coronavirus vaccines. "Vaccinate Indians first, before exporting!" exclaimed a message on the party's Twitter handle. Party MLA Raghav Chadha and Health Minister Jain also called for a lowering of the vaccination eligibility age bracket.
(With inputs from agencies)