'Will hasten third wave': HC flags violations as Delhi reopens
A disregard for coronavirus protocols will only hasten the third wave of the pandemic, the Delhi High Court warned today as it noted violations in the capital city following easing of curbs. The court has asked the Centre and the Delhi government to submit status reports over the matter. Delhi has largely reopened after a lengthy lockdown over the COVID-19 second wave.
"The memory of the second wave has not left us, yet people behave in this manner. This is very unfortunate," a bench of Justices Navin Chawla and Asha Menon commented. "There is a need for strict measures to prevent further spread of COVID-19 infection."
The High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of the issue after a doctor from Delhi's AIIMS shared images of overcrowded markets with the court, Bar & Bench reports. The court asked the authorities to take strict measures against violators and sensitize shopkeepers. It also directed the deployment of police personnel in markets to enforce social distancing. The next hearing is on July 7.
In the days following Delhi's reopening, worrying images and videos of overcrowded markets have made their way to social media. Necessary protocols such as following social distancing and wearing face coverings are also being widely ignored. In view of that, doctors and experts have warned of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, calling for a more systematic and gradual reopening of cities and states.
Delhi was severely hit in India's dreadful second wave of the pandemic. Daily cases in the city had peaked at nearly 30,000 in April. Several city hospitals had even reported an acute shortage of beds and medical oxygen. The city government had imposed a strict 1.5-month-long lockdown from April 19 to May 31. Most of the restrictions have since been eased.
India faced the world's worst coronavirus outbreak over the past few months, but the situation has since improved. In the past 24 hours, the country reported nearly 62,000 fresh infections and more than 1,500 deaths due to the disease. Delhi witnessed 158 new cases and 10 deaths during the same period. However, only 3.5% of the Indian population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Experts have said that another wave of COVID-19 infections could hit India in less than eight months as immunity from prior infection or vaccination is expected to last only that long. Earlier this month, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had said the city government was setting up a task force to monitor the possible third wave. The Centre has also planned modular hospitals across India.