latest : Face masks to be no more mandatory in Delhi, Maharashtra in 2022
Face masks to be no more mandatory in Delhi, Maharashtra
With the COVID-19 cases declining significantly over the past few weeks, several states have decided to lift all the pandemic-related restrictions, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.
Maharashtra, one of the worst-hit states, and West Bengal on Thursday announced that all curbs related to the viral disease would be lifted, while Delhi decided to do away with the mandatory wearing of face masks at public places.
The withdrawal of the COVID-19 curbs came almost two years after the pandemic struck in March 2020. It is expected that some other states may follow suit in the coming days.
At a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, it was decided that there will be no fine for not wearing face masks at public places in the national capital, officials said.
They added that the DDMA, however, is likely to issue an advisory for people, asking them to use masks at crowded places. Currently, there is a fine of Rs 500 for not wearing masks at public places in Delhi.
In Maharashtra, the state government announced that all Covid-related curbs, including the wearing of masks, would be lifted from April 2.
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Health Minister Rajesh Tope told reporters.
“From Gudhi Padwa (Marathi New Year which falls on April 2 this time), all COVID-19 related restrictions under the Epidemic Diseases Act and Disaster Management Act will be withdrawn,” Tope said.
Wearing of face mask will be voluntary from April 2, he said.
Similarly, the West Bengal government said that all curbs related to the contagion would stand withdrawn from midnight.
In a notification, the government, however, stressed the use of masks and hygiene maintenance.
“Accordingly, it is hereby notified that restrictions as currently in force by aforesaid orders are hereby withdrawn. However, advisory in respect of health and hygiene protocols, including wearing of masks at all times, hand hygiene and sanitisation of public places shall continue to be strictly observed until further order,” it stated.
Meanwhile, with 1,225 new coronavirus infections reported in a day, India’s Covid tally rose to 4,30,24,440, while the active cases dipped to 14,307, the Union health ministry said.
The death toll climbed to 5,21,129 with 28 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
The active cases comprise 0.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate remained at 98.76 per cent, the ministry said.
A reduction of 397 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The country’s daily Covid positivity rate was recorded at 0.20 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 0.23 per cent.
India’s COVID-19 tally had surpassed the three-crore mark on June 23 last year.