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As Delhi unlocks, Covid challans hit two-month high

With the six-week long lockdown in Delhi now eased, the number of challans for violation of Covid-mandated behaviour has risen, hitting the two-month peak on Thursday.

As per Delhi government data, 5,301 people were challaned on Thursday for violations such as stepping out without masks, wearing masks improperly, spitting, and not maintaining social distancing.

Over the past two months, 1,89,307 such challans have been issued – and an average of 3,053 per day.

Delhi was hit by a strong fourth wave of Covid cases in mid-April, with cases skyrocketing and hospital beds filling up. The Delhi government announced a near-complete lockdown on April 19.

The Delhi High Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of overcrowding in markets and non-adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, and said this behaviour would only hasten the next Covid wave.

According to the data, while the number of daily challans was around 4,000 per day till mid-April, the lockdown meant people were in houses and markets were shut. Public transport was available only to essential workers and those with e-passes. The Delhi Metro was also shut eventually.

As cases peaked at 28,000 on April 22, before falling to under 200 over the past few days, the number of challans for violations also dipped. Till the last week of May, when the lockdown was firmly in place, close to 2,500 people were being challaned per day.

As the city started opening up, so did the violations, data shows.

Delhi allowed construction activities and factories starting May 31 and 3,226 challans were issued on the day.

The next week, Delhi allowed markets and malls to reopen at 50% capacity, and the Delhi metro to restart.

Close to 4,200 people were challaned each day between June 7 and June 14.

Last Monday, Delhi allowed weekly markets, restaurants, barber shops, as well as markets and malls to reopen at full capacity. Between Monday and Thursday around 5,100 challans were issued per day for these violations.

The data shows that the highest number of challans was issued in the North district at 27,273 between April 17 and June 17.

Shahdara district with 26,483 and the South district with 21,295 fines followed. The North West district saw the lowest number of challans at 8,392.

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