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No more taking it easy, Telangana police to strictly impose mask rule

With the threat of Omicron variant looming large and the Health Department sounding an alert, the Telangana police will be stricter when it comes to people moving about without face masks.

Published: 04th December 2021 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th December 2021 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

Charminar

Charminar in Hyderabad (File Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: With the threat of Omicron variant looming large and the Health Department sounding an alert, the Telangana police will be stricter when it comes to people moving about without face masks. 
The police had earlier imposed fines on those not wearing masks, but with the number of positive cases dipping, adopted a more relaxed approached. 

However, the scenario has changed overnight with the virus mutating and the Omicron variant threatening to spread rapidly. Now, enforcement of the face mask rule will stricter to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour among the public, said the police.  In April 2021, Telangana issued orders to impose a fine or Rs 1,000 on those not wearing masks and the order was imposed strictly. 

In May 2021, DGP M Mahender Reddy informed the Telangana High Court that the department had filed 3,39,412 (3.39 lakh) cases against persons not wearing face masks and collected Rs 31 crore in penalties from May 1 to May 14. 

As the second wave of Covid was at its peak at that time, the police boss was summoned by the High Court to explain the measures taken by the police department with regards to the enforcing Covid guidelines. 

However, a few weeks later, as the second wave ebbed and the number of cases came down drastically and the number of vaccinated individuals incr-eased, the police also relaxed. “The orders to penalise people for not wearing masks were never withdrawn and are very much in force till date. But in public interest, not many people were fined for not wearing masks. However, the present situation demands everyone to follow the safety protocols strictly and to ensure everyone wears masks, police will start imposing fines on violators,” a senior police officer said. 

During the first and second waves, police have also extensively conducted awareness programmes, even involving celebrities, on wearing masks.



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