The West Delhi district authorities Sunday ordered two evening markets in Nangloi to be shut for flouting various COVID-19 safety guidelines including on social distancing and face mask, officials said. The District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in West Delhi issued an order Sunday, directing for closure of Punjabi Basti Market and Janta Market till November 30, a senior district official said. “The government directives for wearing face mask, maintaining physical distancing and other such COVID-19 safety measures were being flouted both by the vendors and shoppers in the two rehri-patri (street side) markets despite repeated instructions and warnings by officials,” he said.

The district authorities, accompanied by police and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) teams, conducted inspection to ensure the closure of the markets and removal of encroachments in both the markets. Over 200 vendors dealing in various daily use items used to set up shops in the markets that opened in the evening hours daily.

The action comes two days after Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government did not wish to shut any market, and had assured their associations to support the government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection through these places. In the midst of the spurt in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, the Chief Minister had Tuesday sought power from the Centre to impose restrictions in markets which may emerge as COVID-19 hotspots due to crowded situation, people not using face masks and violations of social distancing there.

Delhi has been reeling under a third wave of coronavirus and has reported a death rate of 1.58 per cent as compared to the national fatality rate of 1.48 per cent. Experts attribute the high number of daily COVID-19 deaths in the national capital to a large number of “critical” non-residents patients coming to the city for treatment, unfavourable weather, pollution and better “reporting and mapping” of fatalities.

They say the easing of restrictions has exposed the vulnerable population, such as the elderly and those having comorbidities, to the deadly virus. In the month of November alone, the national capital has recorded 1,759 fatalities till November 21 around 83 deaths per day.

The number of deaths breached the 100-mark four times in the last 10 days.

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