Hiking fine amount in Delhi for not wearing masks extraordinary measure: LG

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) The decision to increase the fine amount for not wearing face masks from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000 was taken as an 'extraordinary measure' due to a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in Delhi over the last fortnight, a statement issued by the lieutenant governor's office said on Thursday.

Delhi LG Anil Baijal met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the Raj Niwas on Thursday to review the COVID-19 situation in the national capital.

With an aim to create 'effective deterrence' and penalise the violators in an 'exemplary' way, it was considered necessary to hike the fine amount for not wearing face masks from Rs 500 to Rs 2,000, the statement said.

'The decision was taken as an extraordinary measure in the face of a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in Delhi during the last fortnight, despite best efforts being put in by various field agencies on all fronts,' it added.

Baijal emphasised on the need to implement in a 'time-bound manner' the decisions taken at a recent meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah regarding enhanced testing, augmenting the hospital infrastructure and human resources, a house-to-house survey and a review of home-care arrangements among others, the statement said.

Baijal also stressed that as the city witnessed 'unprecedented trying times' due to the pandemic, IEC (information, education, communication) activities through all modes of media should be effectively utilised to inform, sensitise and persuade people to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 safety norms.

It was felt that even though most people are adhering to a COVID-appropriate behaviour, there are some disregarding it with impunity. This in turn is not only exposing them to the deadly virus, but is also putting others at risk due to their 'irresponsible' behaviour, the statement said.

The COVID-19 situation has turned complex due to the onset of winter, high levels of air pollution, seasonal respiratory disorders and crowding in the ongoing festive season, and the disregard towards preventive and protective measures like wearing face masks and social distancing has 'significantly contributed' to the 'uncontrolled spike' in the number of coronavirus cases, it added. PTI VIT RC