BENGALURU: Karnataka’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has recommended reintroduction of penalties for violators of the mandatory mask rule within a week, exclusively in Bengaluru, which is spearheading a surge in Covid cases. However, the state government is scouting ways to bring in penal enforcement after Covid containment under the Disaster Management Act 2005 was discontinued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs after March 31, 2022.
Principal Secretary, Health, Anil Kumar T K said they will now examine under which provisions they can impose penalty for non-compliance of the mask rule. A committee under the Chief Secretary has the powers to bring Covid back under the ambit of the DM Act 2005, to impose a penalty for non-compliance with the mask rule. The state government is also considering implementing it under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act 2020.
TAC members met on Monday evening and recommended stricter enforcement of the mask rule without penalty, for now. The mask rule has been in effect in the state, following a government order on April 25, 2022. However, a majority of people in Bengaluru are not complying with the rule.
The number of Covid cases touched 348 in the state, including 339 in Bengaluru, on Tuesday — the highest daily addition since the third wave ended. Among the active cases, of 2,478 in Karnataka, 2,390 are in Bengaluru — the highest after Mumbai in the country.
A day after strict enforcement of the mask rule was recommended, a majority of people was seen without masks, except while entering multiplexes, supermarkets and other places where they were being checked.
Four BBMP teams, with four marshals each, visited Kalasipalyam, Russell, Madiwala and KR markets, to create awareness.
On a daily average, BBMP is testing 13,465 cases. The daily positivity rate touched 2.11 per cent in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
There are 11 clusters in Bengaluru, 15 patients are admitted to general wards and four are in ICU. Hospital admissions have been low throughout the fresh outbreak.