Center notifies 5 states over Covid-19, Maharashtra says mask "not mandatory"

New Delhi: 

Rajesh Tope, Health Minister of Maharashtra clarified the state’s stance on a letter sent by the Center to five states. The letter was sent to notify these state governments to closely monitor the rising Covid-19 cases. 

The letter has also asked the states to maintain adequate number of testing as well as send collected samples from the infected individuals for genome sequencing. Tope has appealed to people that they should sill wear masks in closed spaces like public transports. However, there has been no mandates for wearing the mask as any sort of fines for not wearing a mask has been uplifted by the government. 

Tope said in a press briefing while quoting a letter sent by the Central government, “Masks should be worn in closed spaces like buses, schools, railways, and offices. This is not mandatory; therefore, no fine is imposed. But I appeal to the Maharashtra public to wear masks. There has been a slight increase in positive cases in the limited cluster areas like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, and Palghar, due to which Maharashtra’s contribution in the active Covid-19 cases in the country is increasing. That’s why the Health Department of the Central government had sent a letter to the states observing a surge in Covid-19 cases”.

The five states which received the letter from the Central government include, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana. The letter advises them to follow the strategy of the central government- test, track, vaccinate. They are further advised to monitor clusters of the new Covid-19 cases and to ensure that people follow Covid-19 appropriate behavior and carry out adequate testing. 

Rajesh Tope also said, “Center has asked the states to follow the formulated in-general Covid-19 norms”.

However, in a 



 released by ICMR on January 10, 2022 they have categorically defined the below mentioned ‘people who need not be tested’:

-Asymptomatic individuals in community settings

-Contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19 unless identified as high risk based on age or co-morbidities

-Patients who stand discharged as pe home isolation guidelines 

-Patients being discharged from a Covid-19 facility as per revised discharge policy

-People undertaking inter-state domestic travel

Tope further said, “It is a part of in-general guidelines for the people to wear face masks in closed spaces like buses, schools, railways, and offices, and hence we appeal to wear face masks, however, we have not mandated it by imposing a fine on not wearing a face mask”.

This statement by Tope came days after Ajit Pawar, Deputy CM of Maharashtra, had shown concern regarding the spike in cases of Covid-19. On the other hand, the nationwide cases of Covid-19 have shown a significant dip in the cases. 

With this, India’s active COVID caseload stands at 22,416, constituting 0.05 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The daily positivity rate of 0.77 per cent was observed in the last 24 hours, while the weekly positivity rate was recorded to be 0.89 per cent, the health ministry informed today.


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