Mask up or face action: Telangana steps up measures, bans public gatherings

Not wearing a mask can attract a fine or jail time under sections of the Disaster Management Act 2005, as well as other applicable laws, says the order.
A close-up of a mask held by person in a blue shirt
A close-up of a mask held by person in a blue shirt
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People who are found not wearing masks in public and at workspaces in Telangana will now have to face stringent action and even jail time, a new order by the state government has said. The state government has also banned all rallies, public celebrations and religious congregations till April 30 as COVID-19 cases rise in the state.

The office of the Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar issued two separate Government Orders, one on enforcing masks in public and another against holding religious congregations. These orders state that any deviations from the rules will attract prosecution under Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as other applicable laws.

District administrations have been ordered to enforce Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act which attracts a fine of and imprisonment up to two years or both. Section 188 of the IPC will attract imprisonment up to six months, a fine up to Rs 1000 or both.

The GO 68 on masks advise citizens on the benefit of wearing masks. The GO said wearing face masks is one of the most important interventions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All District Collectors and Superintendents of Police have been instructed to implement these instructions across the state.

According to GO 69, all public celebrations/observances will not be allowed during the upcoming religious events of Shab-e-Barat, Holi, Ugadi, Ramnavami, Mahavir Jayanti, Good Friday and Ramzan until April 30.

Telangana on Saturday recorded 495 new COVID-19 cases, raising the state's tally over 3.05 lakh. The number of active cases also shot up to 4,241 as compared to 2,607 from a week ago.

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