Flouting of COVID-19 norms is rampant

People flout COVID-19 norms, are seen not wearing face masks near Mainguard gate in Tiruchi on Sunday morning.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

The scenario of people flouting COVID-19 norms by not wearing face masks was all too visible in the city on Sunday, even as the number of cases keeps rising every passing day.

Many carried masks in their pockets and chose to wear them only when they were confronted by authorities to avoid paying fines, while there were also people who threw caution to the wind and did not have masks at all. Some even blamed the scorching heat as a reason for not wearing the masks. “The fear factor is lost. People tend to think that COVID-19 is just a fever and it has become difficult to convince them about the harm that the virus can do,” a policeman posted near Mainguard Gate said.

While officials of the Tiruchi Corporation and the City Police had come down heavily on violators during the lockdown last year, this time around, enforcement of COVID-19 safety protocol took a beating as many had been deployed on election duty and other works.

A police official told The Hindu, “We do not fine all of them; many of the people we confront are daily-wage labourers who cannot afford a mask. For them, we hand out a mask and tell them the importance of wearing one,” he said.

At the Mainguard Gate, where families and youth spend time on weekends shopping and consuming street food, mask-wearing was at its bare minimum. “It is very hot in Tiruchi and I am unable to breathe underneath the mask. It was easier to wear it during the winter,” an ignorant shopper said.

Many are seen wearing masks on their chin or clutching one in their hands even in crowded areas such as the Gandhi Market. “We have all been COVID-19 tested, and it returned negative,” a vendor said.

The biggest challenge for the authorities this time is to ensure public adherence to the safety norms. “We think that the fine for flouting the norms should be increased. If they do not understand the seriousness of the viral infection, let the fear of paying a fine make them wear it,” R. Shanmugham, a senior citizen said.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 7:27:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/flouting-of-covid-19-norms-is-rampant/article34295682.ece

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