Mask Mandates Return in New Delhi As COVID-19 Cases Rise

NEW DELHI — The Indian capital reintroduced public mask mandates on Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country.

New Delhi’s government has reinstituted the 500-rupee ($6) fine for those who are caught wearing masks or coverings in public.

India’s Health Ministry said 16,299 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours nationwide, with a positivity rate of 4.58%. New Delhi saw nearly 2,150 cases of infection.

New Delhi announced eight coronavirus-related deaths on Wednesday. It was the largest number in almost six months. As a result of two earlier devastating waves of COVID-19, most people in the country have begun to throw away their face masks.

New Delhi’s top elected official, Arvind Kejriwal, said that COVID-19 cases were on the rise but there was no need to panic because most of the new cases were mild.

India began vaccinating citizens in January 2021. To date, more than 2.04 billion doses have been administered, including booster, first and second doses. Nearly 94% have had at least one vaccination, 86% of whom are complete.

Most experts believe India’s official death toll of more than 414,000 is a vast undercount, but the government has dismissed those concerns as exaggerated and misleading.

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