Kerala reinforces mask mandate as COVID-19 cases rise

A June 22 order circulated to district police chiefs has referred to an earlier government directive making it compulsory to wear masks in public places, gatherings, workplaces etc.
Two persons holding N95 masks in their hands
Two persons holding N95 masks in their hands
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The Kerala police has ordered all its district police chiefs to ensure implementation of a state government direction to make wearing of masks mandatory in public and workplaces, gatherings and also while using transportation. The move comes in the wake of rising number of COVID-19 cases in the state. In an order dated June 22, circulated to all district police chiefs "for urgent implementation and remarks", the police department has referred to an April 27 directive of the state Disaster Management Authority making it compulsory to wear masks in "public places, gatherings, workplaces and during transport" which is still in force. The April 27 order also states that violation of the direction would be punishable under provisions of the Disaster Management Act.

The police department order comes in the wake of a gradual increase in the daily COVID-19 infection numbers and active cases in the state. In the last week, the state reported close to and more than 3,000 cases daily and on Monday, June 27, it had recorded 2,993 fresh infections, according to data on the Government of Kerala dashboard. Till June 27, the active cases in the state were recorded at 27,218 and the test positivity rate (TPR) on Monday was found to be 18.33%, the data indicated. The TPR average for the last seven days was 17.52%, according to the data.

It was in the month of April that the state lifted all state-imposed containment measures after the caseload dropped. A Government Order (GO) dated April 7 issued by Chief Secretary Dr VP Joy had said that the decision was taken “after reviewing the current scenario of COVID-19 spread and existing orders for restrictions under Disaster Management Act, 2005 in the state.” However, use of face masks and hand hygiene are still in force as per directions issued by the Union government.

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