Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has assured the people that no case of the Covid variant that is driving the China surge, has been detected in the city. But mandatory mask usage is a call that can only be taken by the Centre, he said. There has been concern about mandatory mask usage after the variant playing havoc in China was found have been detected in India. Four cases have surfaced so far in Gujarat and Odisha — one of them back in July. Karnataka has made masks usage mandatory indoors, without waiting for any Central guideline.
On a question by NDTV on whether there is any plan to make mask mandatory in Delhi again, Mr Kejriwal said, “We are waiting for instructions from the Central government”.
This, he said, is because “at present, the maximum knowledge and expertise is with the central government. How much we need to prepare and what to do, as soon as the Central government gives orders, we will follow those orders”.
The Centre has not made masks mandatory, maintaining there is no cause for panic. Experts have advised the use of mask in crowded places, and said social distancing be maintained.
Delhi is susceptible to another outbreak, in view of having the country’s largest airport that sees the maximum number of footfalls a day. Masks have not been made mandatory at airports either, though today, the government started random Covid tests for 2 per of incoming travelers.
In 2021, the second wave of Covid had brought Delhi’s healthcare system on the verge of collapse, with a chronic shortage of oxygen and medication.
Reeling off a set of crucial numbers – hospital beds, medication, oxygen and ambulances — Mr Kejriwal said the city is now battle-ready in case an outbreak does happen.
He assured that his government is on constant watch, conducting genome test of 250 samples a day and testing sewage from 7 spots across the city. The dominant sub-variant in Delhi is XBB that has been detected in 92 per cent of the samples till now, he said.