As Covid infections rise, Karnataka makes face masks must but won’t levy fine


With an uptick in daily Covid cases, Karnataka chief secretary P Ravi Kumar issued an order on Monday making the wearing of face masks compulsory in all public places.

“The wearing of face covering/ masks by the public in work places and during transport. Similarly spitting in public places will be punishable with a fine, as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the local authorities. Further, individuals must maintain social distancing—a minimum distance of 2 feet—in public places,” the order read.

The order was issued as per the recommendations of the state’s Covid-19 technical advisory committee.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai held a meeting with Revenue Minister R Ashok, Health Minister K Sudhakar, health commissioner D Randeep and the members of the advisory committee to discuss the preparedness about a possible fourth wave of the Covid pandemic.

Bommai asked the officials to get comprehensive data on the spread of the infection in other countries and directed them to monitor the daily cases regularly.

The meeting deliberated on intensifying the vaccination campaign. It was decided that the tele-monitoring of international passengers arriving from Japan and Thailand will also be carried out.

The Covid restrictions were lifted in the state on February 28.

Sudhakar clarified that though the wearing of masks at public places had been made compulsory fines would not be levied from violators. “On April 27, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a video conference with the chief ministers and health ministers of all the states. Post this meeting, we will have another round of meetings in Karnataka and further measures, if required, will be taken,” he said.

On Monday, the health department reported 64 fresh Covid cases and zero fatalities. The positivity rate for the day was 1.38 per cent. The department also stated there were only nine Covid related hospitalisations. As many as 4,637 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.