Mask mandate returns in New Delhi as Covid cases rise

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Vaccine, India, New Delhi

The Indian capital New Delhi has reintroduced public mask mandates as Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the country.

The New Delhi government reinstituted a fine of 500 rupees (£5) for anyone caught not wearing a mask or face covering 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%. Nearly 2,150 infections were reported in New Delhi.

On Wednesday, New Delhi reported eight deaths due to the coronavirus, the highest in nearly six months. People in most parts of the country began discarding face masks as infections dropped following two earlier waves of Covid.

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

India started vaccinating people in January 2021 and has administered more than two billion doses, including first, second and booster doses.

More than 94% of the eligible population (12 years and older) has received at least one shot, and 86% are fully vaccinated.

India’s official death toll is more than 414,000.

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