Coronavirus: Delhi makes face masks compulsory, seals off 20 hotspots

Coronavirus: Delhi makes face masks compulsory, seals off 20 hotspots

New Delhi, April 8

The Delhi Government made face masks compulsory in public places on Wednesday, as the city’s coronavirus cases surged to nearly 600 with nine deaths.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet on Wednesday: “Wearing of facial masks can reduce the spread of corona virus substantially. Therefore, it has been decided that facial masks will be compulsory for anyone stepping out of their house. Cloth mask shall be eligible too”.

Also on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said some 20 of the city’s coronavirus hotspots have been sealed off.

These areas include Gali No. 6, L-1ST Sangam Vihar; Gandhi Park, Malviya Nagar; Mandawli Gali No. 1; Pandav Nagar H Block Gali No. 1; Khichdipur Gali No. 1-3; Kishan Kunj Ext Gali No. 4; two apartments in IP Extension -- Vardhaman, Mayur Dhwaj; and Mansara Apartment in Vasundhra Enclave, among others.

Speaking to the media, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the decision was taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.

"The areas will be completely sealed while the administration will ensure door-to-door delivery of essential items," Sisodia said.

He also said that some positive cases have been reported in the Sadar area here. "So the area has been sealed too".

"Total 20 hotspots have been identified in Delhi and were sealed. Nobody will be allowed to enter or exit these areas," Sisodia said.

According to the Health Ministry, an area with 10 or more cases of an infection is called a cluster and if multiple clusters develop in any region and have the potential to spread the infection further, it is called a hotspot.

However, for coronavirus, it is an emerging term and even an area with one positive case can be called a hotspot, depending upon the possibility of the spread in that area, the Health Department said.

After an area is declared a hotspot or has the capacity to be a hotspot, the authorities have the right to restrict the movement of the people and seal the area making it a containment zone --- locking down a defined geographic area to contain the outbreak of COVID-19.

The containment zones, created to map the local transmission of the disease and prevent the contagion from spreading, are announced by the office of the district magistrate. It completely shuts the movement of the common people with the authorities taking care of the essential supplies.

The area and the houses in it are sanitised properly. So far, several pockets in the city have been declared containment zones, including parts of Nizamuddin, Dilshad Garden, Vasundhara Enclave, Kalyanpuri, Pandav Nagar, Krishan Kunj, Khichripur, Malviya Nagar, Sangam Vihar and Patparganj.

Delhi has reported close to 600 positive cases since the outbreak of the infection, with more than 50 per cent cases from Nizamuddin Markaz -- where over 2,300 people from different parts of the world and country were staying under one roof without following any social distancing.

They were evacuated last week after the lockdown was imposed.

The development comes on a day when Uttar Pradesh made a similar announcement, sealing off hotspots in 15 districts of the state.

India has more than 5,000 reported cases of coronavirus so far, with 149 recorded deaths. ---- Agencies 

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