05 Nov 2020
Delhi bans firecrackers before Diwali to control pollution, COVID-19 spread
Delhi has banned firecrackers in a bid to control the spread of air pollution in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Thursday.
The move comes a week ahead of Diwali when firecrackers are burst in large numbers during celebrations.
Kejriwal said the decision was taken in light of the rising pollution, which has been linked to the increased spread of COVID-19.
Kejriwal says firecrackers banned after reviewing COVID-19 situation
Kejriwal said that he reviewed the COVID-19 situation in Delhi along with the Chief Secretary, Health officials, and all District Magistrates.
It was then decided that firecrackers should be banned in the national capital.
Several experts have warned that COVID-19 infections could rise during the festive season, which is coupled with increased gatherings and rising pollution due to firecrackers.
Oxygen, ICU beds being increased in government hospitals: Kejriwal
Kejriwal further said his government will ramp up medical infrastructure in the national capital.
"Oxygen and ICU beds are being increased in Delhi government hospitals," Kejriwal tweeted, adding that the Delhi High Court has stayed their order to increase ICU beds in private hospitals. Kejriwal said they have approached the Supreme Court in the matter.
The city government will also focus on targeted testing.
You can view the tweet here
3. Del HC has stayed our order to increase ICU beds in pvt hospitals. Filed appeal in SC yesterday. We hope SC will lift the stay keeping in view the critical situation— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) November 5, 2020
4. Targetted testing
5. All steps shud be taken to ensure that fatality rate does not increase
How bad is the COVID-19 outbreak in India?
As of Wednesday, Delhi reported a total of 4,09,938 COVID-19 cases, including 6,703 deaths and 3,65,866 recoveries.
On Wednesday, Delhi had witnessed a record single-day spike of 6,842 fresh infections, a day after reporting a record spike of 6,725 new cases.
Delhi is one of the few states/union territories where infections are still rising, amid a nationwide downward trend of the outbreak.
Earlier, Kejriwal had asked Delhiites to perform 'Laxmi Pujan' instead
During a press conference earlier in the day, Kejriwal had appealed to Delhi residents to avoid bursting firecrackers.
Instead, he asked people to join him and his Ministers in a "Laxmi Pujan"—the Hindu Goddess Laxmi is worshipped on Diwali—to be organized by the Delhi government on Diwali (November 14).
Citing the pandemic, he had urged people against contributing to air pollution.
Delhi's air quality becomes 'severe'
Meanwhile, Delhi's air quality was "severe" on Thursday, as residents woke up to an AQI reading of 452. An AQI between 0-50 is considered "good."
According to the central government's air quality monitoring agency, the share of stubble burning in Delhi's pollution rose to 42% on Thursday—the maximum this season.
Increased farm fires and low wind speed contributed to poor air quality on Thursday.