Minister Rajesh Tope Clarifies On Making Mask Mandatory In Maharashtra; Here’s What He Says

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After reports were doing round that masking was compulsory in closed spaces due to an increased number of cases reported in Maharashtra, state health minister Rajesh Tope clarified that the state government is yet to take any decision regarding the same. The letter had the word ‘must’ which seems to have created confusion. However, people have been advised to wear masks, he added.

This development comes amid rising COVID-19 cases especially in six districts including Mumbai.

Explaining further, Tope stated that the use of certain words in a three-page letter sent to local civic bodies had caused the confusion. Districts like Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune and Raigad have seen a small surge in numbers. In this regard, the Union health ministry had sent a letter asking for action to be taken.  “Thus, we appeal to the public to wear masks in areas of surge. Masks should be worn in closed spaces like buses, schools, railways, and offices. This is not mandatory, therefore no fine is imposed. As per now, it is an appeal to the people to wear masks,” said Tope.

Also Read: “If people don’t want restrictions again…”: Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Warns Amid Rising COVID Cases

Despite the surge in cases, there are hardly any hospitalization cases. Patients are getting well within eight days due to their immunity. The government will study the situation for the next 15-20 days and then take a decision on whether to make masks mandatory or not, he elaborated.

Tope, while taking to reporters in Pune, mentioned that the COVID-19 task force met this week and it was decided to appeal to the citizens to use masks both in crowded places as well as closed places like buses, trains, schools and offices. This is an appeal and we have not made masks compulsory till now.

Meanwhile, additional chief secretary (public health) Pradeep Vyas wrote a letter to district collectors stating that districts should increase testing immediately, and ensure that the proportion of RT-PCR tests was at least 60%. “Mask in closed public spaces like trains, buses, cinemas, auditoriums, offices, hospitals, colleges, schools are a must,” Vyas wrote.

Vyas’ letter came hours after union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Friday, June 3 raised an alarm over rising COVID 19 cases in Maharashtra and asked the state to keep a strict watch and take pre-emptive action to curb emerging spread of infection.

Also Read: COVID- Fourth Wave: BMC Issues Fresh Orders Amid Rising Cases – Read Here



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