LUCKNOW: While clamping complete lockdown in hotspots identified across 15 districts of the state, UP government has issued government order (GO) making it mandatory to cover the face with a mask for every citizen. The GO was released here on Wednesday.
It also says that not adhering to this order would invite legal action under the Epidemic Act and COVID-19 manual 2020.
Informing the media about the decision, Additional Chief Secretary (home) Awanish Awasthi confirmed the essence of the GO. “It has been decided that from now on, it will be mandatory for everyone to wear masks. In fact, not wearing a mask may invite a penalty as well,” he said.
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However, the GO issued by Amit Mohan Prasad, principal secretary, health, on Wednesday evening says that wearing face cover (masks) on public places has been mandatory under Epidemic Act 1897 and UP Epidemic Disease (COVID-19) Manual 2020.
The GO adds that only health workers should use N-95 masks. It recommends a three-layer cloth-mask which can also be made at home for common use.
The GO also elaborates that if a three-layer mask is not available, gamchhas, handkerchief or stoles could be used to cover the face. "People should cover their faces and that the masks or cloth should be washed with soap each time," it says.
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On Tuesday, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had emphasised on the importance of wearing masks but made it clear that N-95 masks should be reserved for medical practitioners.
UP has already started manufacturing of masks in the state, with 48 units dedicated to mask manufacturing and private protection equipment (PPE). The khadi department has also been directed to rope in women self-help groups to use khadi for manufacturing of masks, a major shortage of which had emerged in the
state during the early days of the outbreak.
This, the CM had said, would not just create jobs but would also ensure that there was a ready supply of PPEs.