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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Odisha is taking some strong steps to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. After extending the lockdown till April 30, Odisha government has taken a decision to penalise people not wearing masks in public places.

Exercising the powers of Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 (3 of 1897), Odisha Government made some regulations and amended the Odisha COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 to the effect that all persons shall cover their mouth and nose with any available form of mask while they come out of their houses for any purpose. A handkerchief or any other piece of cloth can also be used for the purpose provided it is double-folded.

Also Read: Neither Surgical Nor Cotton Masks Effectively Filter Coronavirus: Study

Law enforcement agencies will ensure wearing masks or clothes such as handkerchiefs, bandanas, gamuchha, dupattas or the like by the people while coming out of their house, the notification from the government read.

Clearly mentioning the disposal procedure, the government has stipulated that disposable or single-use masks shall be properly disposed of by following due procedure prescribed by the Health & Family Welfare Department, from time to time. Cotton masks should be cleaned with soap or detergent or disinfectant and water and shall be sun-dried for at least 5 hours after every single use.

To ensure that the guidelines are strictly followed, the government has decided to impose a penalty of Rs 200 for first three instances of violation, and thereafter, a violator will be penalised Rs 500.

Also Read: Surgical Masks Good To Be Used For COVID-19 Treatment

"All officers not below Extension Officers of the Block or all officers not below Additional Tahsildar or all police officers not below Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police or all officers of Urban Local Bodies not below the Ward Officer shall compound the offence on payment of rupees two hundred for the first, second and third offence and on payment of five hundred rupees for the subsequent offences," the new regulations read.

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