New Delhi: Pointing out the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in the capital, Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that wearing masks while driving alone in private vehicle will be mandatory from now on.

The court said so while it noted the face covering is like a 'suraksha kavach' amid the pandemic. The court said the mask was like a 'suraksha kavach' (protective shield) during the prevailing pandemic.

Justice Prathiba M Singh also refused to interfere with the Delhi government's decision to impose challans for not wearing a mask while driving a private vehicle alone and dismissed the pleas challenging the same.

“Wearing of a mask of a face cover in a vehicle, which may be occupied by either a single person or multiple persons, is… compulsory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the order further said.

During the proceedings, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had submitted that it has not issued any direction asking people to wear masks in a car when they are alone.

It had said that health was a state subject and the Delhi government has to take a decision on it.

“Scientists and international governments advise wearing of a mask. The challenge of the pandemic was enormous and the wearing of face masks is necessary whether a person is vaccinated or not,” the Court added.

The Delhi government had told the court that wearing masks while driving an official or personal vehicle was made compulsory by way of an office order in April last year and it remained in force.

It had also said that a private vehicle was held to be a public place by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Delhi recorded 5,100 fresh cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, the highest since November 27 last year when the city reported 5,482 cases in a day.