People wearing facemasks stand in a queue. (Representational image. Photo credit: PTI)
Bengaluru: With COVID-19 cases on the rise, the Karnataka government is mulling over imposing fines for not wearing masks in public places here.
“I feel that masks have to be made compulsory at least in Bengaluru. Till now, there were no fines. We may have to think about imposing fines on people also before it gets out of hand. Of course, this is at the discussion stage. Ultimately we will discuss with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai,” Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar told reporters.
To a query on how it would be implemented, he said in the past, too, the government had effectively made the masks compulsory during lockdown and during stringent COVID-19 restrictions.
“Now that the symptoms of anybody infected is not serious or bothering people…no deaths…people not getting admitted to the ICU or requiring ventilator support, a common man feels it (COVID-19) is like any flu. He is not taking it as seriously as it should have been, though we are trying to tell them,” Sudhakar said.
“COVID-19 is a new disease that broke out nearly two years ago, so experts do not know much about the post-COVID effect on a person”, he said, adding that people need to be watchful and mindful of their actions.
“We should be considering all precautionary measures rather than thinking about it after getting affected. To that extent, the government is thinking seriously to really consider a few options like compulsory mask and effective preventive dose of vaccination as early as possible that too on a warfooting,” Sudhakar said.
The Minister said the government has decided to give free booster dose or preventive dose free of cost to people to pursue vaccination aggressively.
On administering vaccines for children, Sudhakar said the government is also expecting it in all eagerness.
To a question on whether to call the current spike in cases a fourth wave, the Minister said he was not sure as every three to four months it has been observed that cases shoot up and subside.
Karnataka reported 1,231 fresh COVID cases and zero fatality on Wednesday, while the previous day recorded 891 infections and one death.
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