Govt gets tough on use of face masks

Special Correspondent

1 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Amid the fresh spike in both infections and deaths from coronavirus following an erratic lull for over two months, the government has decided to go for more tough measures, including giving jail term against the mask-rule violators, across the country.

It has instructed the authorities concerned to take harsher measures to ensure so that people wear masks to chase away the virus.

A breach of rules may lead to a jail term alongside a fine, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said after a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

"As we said earlier, we’ll take strict measures from this week to ensure the use of masks. People to be found outdoors without face masks will have to pay Tk 500 in fine. We’ve asked the mobile courts to get tough to this end,” he said.

The Cabinet secretary said the outcome of mobile court operations over the use of face masks is positive outside Dhaka. “People in district towns have now become more aware.”

In replying to a query, he said if people do not adhere to the rules, the government will have to go for tougher punishment, including handing jail term, through mobile courts. “We can’t take a risk,” he added.

The government has made it mandatory for all to wear masks outdoors at the end of July. However, many were found flouting the rules.

The Cabinet Division also asked the local administration to run mobile court drives alongside awareness campaigns to ensure the use of masks.

As per earlier instructions, magistrates and law enforcers under mobile courts are now relentlessly working in the capital and elsewhere across the country to ensure mandatory use of face masks apart from increasing awareness among people.

However, many continued to ignore the instructions to wear masks and maintain health guidelines when venturing outdoors.

The field administration has been directed to take appropriate measures for enforcing the rules and conducting massive awareness campaign to make sure that people follow the health guidelines properly.

If people come to know that punishment is being meted out through mobile court drives for breach of the rules in vehicles, markets and other places, they will be more alert to this end, police said.