Face mask made mandatory in B’luru to check Covid spread

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Face mask made mandatory in B’luru to check Covid spread
Bengaluru:  With the Union Health Ministry claiming that Bengaluru was the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the city’s civic body made wearing face mask mandatory to reduce cases and warned the violators of stringent action, including hefty fine, an official said on Wednesday.

“As the city accounts for about 50 per cent of the Covid cases in the southern state, the civic body issued guidelines to ensure that people wear masks when out of home and in public places to contain the virus spread,” Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) official N. Suresh told IANS here.

The civic notification came after the Karnataka High Court on October 23 directed the state government to set up dedicated teams to ensure that people comply with the rules on wearing mask and maintaining social distance.

“Wearing mask has been made must when driving a car with windows open or shut, riding a bike without a pillion rider, in office or at workplace, malls, markets, shops, social gatherings like weddings or funerals, Metro, railway stations, airports, bus terminals, schools and colleges,” said Suresh.

A citizen will be fined Rs 250 on the spot by civic marshals or city police if found without a mask in public transports, salons and spas.

“Children less than five years are, however, exempted from the order as it will be difficult for them to wear a mask and breath easily,” said Suresh.

Wearing mask is also compulsory in indoors where the risk of virus spread is more due to closed or confined space without ventilation or windows.

“Three-layered medical masks are mandatory for the infected and care-givers at home. Family members or primary contacts should also wear face mask to avoid being infected by the virus,” reiterated Suresh.

Mask can be removed in bars and restaurants only for eating or drinking, while it is mandatory for waiters and other staffers.

“Citizens should wear a mask before going out to public places like sports stadia or complexes, theatres, amusement parks, relief camps or public toilets,” added Suresh.

In compliance with the court order, the civic body has set up an eight-member monitoring committee to enforce the guidelines for containing the virus.

The committee, headed by IAS officer Naveen Raj Singh, will meet every week and review the enforcement of the order across the city in coordination with civic officials and healthcare staff in each of the 198 wards.

Of the 3,146 new cases reported from across the southern state on Tuesday, 1,612 were from Bengaluru Urban district, taking its Covid tally to 3,30,862, including 43,760 active cases, while 3,801 have succumbed to the infection till date, including 23 in the last 24 hours.

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