Delhi govt temporarily shuts two markets in West district after Covid-norm violations

New Delhi: The state government on Sunday temporarily shut two makeshift markets in west Delhi district, citing rampant violations of Covid-19 regulations concerning wearing masks in public places and social distancing.

The two markets, in Punjabi Bagh and Nangloi localities, will remain shut till November 30, as per an order issued by the office of the concerned district magistrate. HT has seen the order.

“Both these markets are unauthorised and comprise around 100 makeshift shops selling goods ranging from garments to kitchen utensils. The crackdown was necessary in the light of rampant violation of Covid-19 regulations. This is not a lockdown, but a temporary measure because of an emergency,” said a senior government official.

Meanwhile, senior leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday launched RT-PCR testing facilities in assembly constituencies and distributed masks across the city.

RT-PCR [reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction] tests are considered the most accurate diagnosis for Covid-19.

The AAP’s initiative to distribute masks across Delhi started on Saturday, a day after the government implemented increased penalties, hiked from ₹500 to ₹2,000 — for not wearing masks, spitting and not adhering to social distancing rules in public places. The initiative was discussed in an all-party meeting chaired by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have initiated similar initiatives as well.

The first major RT-PCR drive through mobile vans was launched by Rajendra Nagar MLA Raghav Chadha, who also distributed masks in his assembly segment.

“Increased RT-PCR testing is an effective way of knowing how much Covid-19 has spread in Delhi. We don’t want to be a mere statistic, but take proactive and effective steps to contain the spread of this dreadful pandemic. I’ve also observed several people wearing their masks incorrectly. It must be understood that the mask goes over the nose, not under it. That defeats the purpose of wearing one,” said Chadha.

“There is no medicine to treat Covid-19. You can only protect yourself and your family by wearing a mask and following social distancing,” said Greater Kailash MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj.

“If you love your family and are worried about their life, do not leave the house without wearing a mask,” said Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti.

Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain and environment minister Gopal Rai also participated in the mask distribution drive on Sunday. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had distributed masks in his assembly constituency Patparganj on Saturday.

While the revenue districts and the police continue distributing free masks, several market welfare associations in the city too have now joined hands in the initiative.

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