Take a call on night curfew in Delhi: HC

The Delhi High Court on Thursday told the AAP government to take a call “without losing further time” on whether night curfew is required to be imposed in the entire Capital or some parts of it, to contain the spread of COVID-19.

A Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad issued the direction after the Centre submitted that States and Union Territories can now impose local restrictions, such as night curfew, based on their own assessment of the situation, as per its November 25 Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution.

The Centre, however, stated that any imposition of a local lockdown outside containment zones in State, district, sub-division or city-level will require prior consultation with the Central government.

Cashless fines

The High Court also asked the Delhi government to make arrangements for making “online deposit of fines to avoid cash transactions as far as possible”. Recently, the penalty for not wearing a face mask and violating other COVID-19 norms was increased to ₹2,000, which was ₹500 earlier.

The High Court also asked the Delhi government as to how it was ensuring that the cap of 50 guests at a marriage ceremony in Delhi is being strictly enforced.

House-to-house survey

During the hearing, the Delhi government stated that it was in the process of conducting house-to-house survey with the help of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The survey commenced on November 20 and as of November 24, about 57,89,799 persons have been surveyed.

“The said survey reveals that the highest of number of asymptomatic persons were found in South-West, East, North-West and West districts,” the AAP government said.

“The containment zones are also the highest in the said districts. There are 23,915 active cases in the containment zones, out of which the maximum number of cases are in West district followed by South-East, East, South-West and North,” it added.

Between November 1 and 24, the total number of death in the Capital on account of COVID-19 infection was 2,049.

Responding to this, the High Court remarked, “Even if the mortality rate in Delhi due to the infection is lower than some other cities in India, that can hardly be a solace to those who have lost a near and dear one”.

The Delhi government said that the number of ICU beds in Delhi government hospitals here was 1,722, as on November 25. ICU beds in hospitals under the Central government have been increased from 89 as on June 01 to 567 as on November 23.

In the private sector, ICU beds have been increased from 111 as on June to 2,182 as on November 23.

A status report filed by the Delhi government also indicated that there are 13 COVID Care Centres, 6 COVID Health Centres and one Quarantine Facility Centre for COVID-19 patients or suspected cases.

The High Court, however, noted that out of the total 8,217 beds in 13 COVID Care Centres, 7,610 beds are vacant as of now. The occupancy is only of 607 beds.

The beds in the COVID Care Centre are permitted to be occupied on recommendations made by officers at the district level, upon visiting the residence of the persons concerned and on finding that any family member is infected, thus making other family members susceptible but unable to isolate themselves within their home premises.

In the six COVID Health Centres, there are 882 bed facilities, out of which 619 are vacant. The Delhi government stated that there are adequate number of beds available in the COVID Care Centres and COVID Health Centres, as of now.

For convenience of the public, the information regarding availability of beds in the 33 private hospitals is made available on Delhi Corona App and on the website – – on a real-time basis.

A helpline number, 1031, has been established by the Delhi government for people to seek information regarding COVID-19 infection, availability of beds in hospitals, etc.

The High Court directed the AAP government to furnish the data regarding the number of daily calls received on this helpline number from November 1 onwards and the number of queries answered satisfactorily.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 2:16:26 PM |

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