New Delhi: Keeping in mind the deteriorating air quality, the Delhi government on Thursday banned firecrackers in the national capital ahead of Diwali. Also Read - Will Night Curfew be Imposed in Delhi Again? Here’s What Kejriwal Govt Plans

Delhi Chief Minister took the decision while reviewing the coronavirus situation in the national capital. He also decided to ramp up medical infrastructure in hospitals. Also Read - Amarinder Singh Condemns Haryana Govt's Attempts To Prevent Farmers March To Delhi

“COVID-19 cases have increased in Delhi due to the ongoing festival season and pollution,” the chief minister said after the review meeting with the chief secretary, health department officials and district magistrates (DMs). Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Arvind Kejriwal Attacks Centre For Preventing Farmers From Holding 'Peaceful' Protests

Notably, the national capital has recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases in the past few days with the number of daily infections crossing the 6,000-mark for the second consecutive day on Wednesday.

“Reviewed corona situation in Delhi and preparedness with Chief Secretary, Health officials and all DMs. Corona cases have increased due to festival season and pollution. It was decided to: 1. Ban crackers in Delhi, 2. Ramp up medical infra, Oxygen and ICU beds are being increased in Delhi govt hospitals,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, the chief minister urged the people of Delhi not to burst firecrackers this Diwali.

The development comes as the air quality on Thursday dropped to its worst level since December last year, with farm fires accounting for 42 per cent of its pollution, the maximum in this season so far, according to data from central government agencies.

Experts said unfavourable meteorological conditions — calm winds and low temperatures — and smoke from farm fires in neighbouring states led to a dense layer of haze on Wednesday night as the air quality index entered the ‘severe’ zone.

The haze thinned on Thursday with higher wind speed helping in dispersion of pollutants. However, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 450, the highest since December 30 last year, when it was 446.