On Saturday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope clarified the state’s position on the Centre’s letter to five states urging them to closely monitor emerging clusters of COVID-19 cases, maintain an adequate number of tests, and send samples from infected individuals for genome sequencing. He said that while they encourage people to wear face masks in closed places, they have not mandated it by imposing a penalty.
Tope while speaking to reporters here today said, “Masks should be worn in closed spaces like buses, schools, railways, and offices. This is not mandatory, therefore no fine is imposed. But I appeal to the Maharashtra public to wear masks.” “There has been a slight increase in positive cases in the limited cluster areas like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, and Palghar, due to which Maharashtra’s contribution in the active Covid-19 cases in the country is increasing. That’s why the Health Department of the Central government had sent a letter to the states observing a surge in Covid cases,” said Tope quoting the letter sent by the Centre.
On Friday, the Centre sent a letter to five states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu, advising them to follow a five-step strategy, namely test, track, treat, and vaccine, as well as follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, monitoring clusters of new COVID-19 cases, and adequate testing in accordance with the guidelines.
Appeal to wear masks
He further stated that the Centre had instructed the states to obey the “in-general Covid rules” that had been established.
“It is a part of in-general guidelines for the people to wear face masks in closed spaces like buses, schools, railways, and offices, and hence we appeal to wear face masks, however, we have not mandated it by imposing a fine on not wearing a face mask,” said Tope.
The state Health Minister’s comments come only days after Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar expressed alarm over the rising number of Covid cases in the state, emphasising the necessity for face masks to be mandated.
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