Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Sunday passed an order to penalize a Rs 1,000 fine for not wearing a mask in public. The heavy penalty comes in view of rising COVID-19 cases over the last 10 days or so, with the state reporting over 3,000 cases alone today.
Telangana chief secretary Somesh Kumar on Sunday signed and sent the Government Order (GO) to all district collectors. The objective of ensuring that people wear masks is to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is currently infecting people in large numbers in a second wave. The Telangana government, like other states, is also trying to mitigate the rising cases by increasing vaccination as well.
The order levying the heavy fine on people for not wearing masks comes at a time when the general public has become lax in terms of taking precautions. While every place had mandated wearing masks and sanitizing their hands before entering any place after the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, many among the public had stopped taking these precautions as the daily number of cases had dropped from the last few months.
Unlike other states like Maharashtra and Delhi, the Telangana government has no plans to implement any lockdown so far. State health minister Eatala Rajender earlier this week made it clear that another lockdown, like last year, will not be done, and he urged people to be more cautious while venturing out.
Over the last fortnight, the state began witnessing a slow rise in cases. Telangana touched the 100 cases per day more than a week ago after which the daily number of new cases kept shooting up. As of now, the state is also trying to ramp up vaccination. In fact, Somesh Kumar, in a letter to the Centre on Saturday (April 11), sought 30 lakh more doses of the COVID-10 vaccine, and stated that Telangana will run out of the vaccine in three days. It is to be seen how the central government reacts.