Amid the growing number of coronavirus infections, the government has further instructed all the field-level administrative officers to intensify the ongoing mobile court operations to ensure mandatory use of face masks.
As part of the move, the authority also asked the mobile courts to increase the amount of the fine against the violators.The instruction came at a regular weekly cabinet meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The premier joined the virtual meeting through a videoconference from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Mobile courts will penalise people found without any face covering as part of the efforts to ensure compliance with the health directive, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said on Monday.
“We asked them to continue with this course of action for another week. If fines aren’t enough to motivate [the people to wear masks], we’ve asked them to resort to sterner measures."
Responding to what these measures could amount to, Anwarul continued, “The fines may be raised from Tk 500-1,000 to Tk 5,000.”
Mobile courts will carry masks to hand them out to those who would be penalised for breaking the regulation, he said.
Mobile courts have already launched drives in the capital and elsewhere in the country.The courts comprising magistrates and law enforcers went for the stern action on Tuesday last just one day after the government asked the field administrators to strengthen operations of mobile courts.
The field administrations have been directed to take appropriate measures for enforcement of the law and conduct massive awareness campaign among people to make sure people follow the health guidelines, particularly about wearing masks, police sources said.
If people come to know that some people are being punished through mobile courts in transports, markets and other places for not wearing masks, they will become aware of it, they said.
People have continued to ignore instructions of using masks and maintaining health guidelines when venturing outdoors as the agencies responsible for executing the government instructions still lack efforts in ensuring enforcement.
At least five circulars have been issued on the issue since the withdrawal of the general holiday on May 31 with rising incidents of COVID-19 infection and deaths.
People without masks are found travelling on footpaths and on buses while people without masks are usually found at the shops and kitchen markets in busy areas in the capital and other parts of the country.