Amid Covid spike, public drops guard, masks too
Despite the return of fine, public compliance to Covid-appropriate behaviour is poor
CHENNAI: With 488 active cases across the State and most new cases being reported from the city, the importance of masking and social distancing has once again come to the fore. Despite the reintroduction of fines for not observing Covid-19 appropriate behaviour a week ago, compliance remains poor.
According to State records, Rs 110 crore was collected as fine from over 60 lakh people for not adhering to Covid-19 norms since the start of the pandemic. Six days ago, the government again instructed officials of public health, local administration, and police to impose a fine of Rs 500 on those found not wearing masks or following social distancing.
“Masks are crucial to curb Covid-19. Using them not only prevents cough droplets from reaching the uninfected but also helps the uninfected avoid breathing in minute particles that infected people release while talking. These can stay in the atmosphere for some time,” said Dr Mohammed Kaasim, a general physician.
Compliance is poor in grocery, meat, vegetable, and tea shops. Officials say many of those who get vaccinated have stopped wearing masks. It has become a common sight, especially in markets on weekends, to see the public not wearing masks and jostling as in pre-Covid times.
“When Chennai hit its peak, mask adherence and social distancing were the most important tools to bring the cases down. As soon as there is a decline, the public stops wearing masks,” said an official from the corporation, adding that the public must remember vaccination does not provide 100% protection against the virus.