THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government has made wearing masks mandatory and banned public spitting in an amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act. Any violation of the new clauses will result in a fine of up to Rs 10,000 and a jail term of two years.
The stringent regulations come amid growing fears that the state is heading for stage of community transmission, with the number of cases spiking every day and, more worryingly, cases through contacts with no known source also increasing.
Late on Sunday, the entire state capital was brought under “triple lockdown” for a week, while the situation in Kochi, too, is dire.
Some of the amendments are: Wearing masks is compulsory in public places, work places, vehicles and places where people gather.
Strikes, dharnas, marches and protests will need prior permission from the state government. If permission is granted, only 10 people can take part in each act.
Spitting is prohibited in public places like roads and footpaths. Social distancing of six feet should be maintained at all times at public places and events.
There shouldn’t be more than 25 people at a time in shops and other business establishments. Business managements should make sanitizers available for use by customers entering shops.
A maximum of 50 people will be allowed at a time for marriages, and everyone should wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Sanitizers should be provided.
For funerals, not more than 20 people will be permitted. Those coming to Kerala will have to register themselves in the revenue department’s Jagratha portal.
The amendments is valid for a year, or till a new order is issued.