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Wearing masks at public spots in Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Vadodara compulsory from today

Ahmedabad has reported the highest number of positive cases and deaths in Gujarat. On Sunday, with an addition of 39 new cases and two deaths, a total of 282 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths have been reported from the city

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: April 13, 2020 1:38:18 am
coronavirus, coronavirus spread, coronavirus in gujarat, coronavirus cases in gujarat, coronavirus mask, municipal corporation of ahmedabad, face mask order, indian express news So far, Rajkot district has recorded 18 cases of COVID-19. (Representational Photo)

The municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Rajkot have made it compulsory for citizens to wear masks in public places, with effect from 6 am on April 13. Violation of the order will follow a penalty up to Rs 5,000 or imprisonment up to 3 years.

While the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) announced the decision on Sunday afternoon, the municipal commissioners of Vadodara and Rajkot issued a similar order later in the day. The civic body of Surat city was the first to impose the compulsory wearing of masks at public spots, with a penalty of Rs 100 for flouting the rule.

Announcing the decision, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra said that the order was issued to contain the spread of COVID-19.

“All persons when in a public place, within the jurisdiction of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, shall compulsorily wear masks or cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief or any other cloth tied properly around their mouth and nose”, the order issued on Sunday stated.

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Wear masks at public spots from today or pay Rs 5,000 penalty/face jail

First time violations will invite a fine of Rs 1000, the AMC order stated. “Penalty of Rs 1,000 will be levied on first time violations. All subsequent violations will attract a penalty of Rs 5,000 in each case. Failure to pay penalty will attract prosecution under section 188 of IPC and provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act,” as per the order..

The order further mentions that the decision has been taken in the view of the increasing positive cases being reported from the city. “Several positive cases have been found in the city of Ahmedabad and it is necessary in public interest to take adequate steps to stop further spread of COVID-19,” the order read.

Ahmedabad has reported the highest number of positive cases and deaths in Gujarat. On Sunday, with an addition of 39 new cases and two deaths, a total of 282 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths have been reported from the city.

The AMC order further stated, “It has been observed in some studies that wearing facial masks can reduce the speed of coronavirus substantially.”

Addressing a press conference, Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Udit Agrawal said, “This order is not meant to fine people. People have been very cooperative since the lockdown began. This order is only an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus. We hope people will cooperate with this measure, too.”

So far, Rajkot district has recorded 18 cases of COVID-19. Of them, 17 have been reported from the jurisdiction of the city’s civic body, while one is from Munjka village on the city outskirts — a part of Rajkot (rural) jurisdiction. Jungleshwar has also emerged a hotspot of the viral infection, as nine cases have come to light from the locality.

Agrawal said that around 150 officers of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation have been authorised to penalise those violating the order of covering their faces. These include assistant managers, ward officers, sanitary inspectors, sanitary sub-inspectors, estate inspectors and livestock inspectors. “Mostly, they will work in tandem with police who are enforcing the lockdown,” said the municipal commissioner.

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