Mumbai, Apr 08, 2020: Wearing protective masks will be mandatory in Mumbai which has emerged as a hotspot in the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, municipal authorities in the city announced on Wednesday. Violators will face strict action and may even be arrested, an order said.
Wearing masks will be must at all public places, offices, meetings and even inside vehicles effective immediately, NDTV reported.
"These masks may be standard mask available with the chemist or even homemade washable masks and can be reused after proper washing and disinfecting them," the order signed by Greater Mumbai Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday also urged people to use masks while going out of their homes to buy basic necessities.
Authorities in Chandigarh, Nagaland and Odisha have already made wearing masks compulsory.
With a population of more than 2 crore, Mumbai and its suburbs have reported 782 positive cases and 50 deaths, the latest health bulletin said on Wednesday. Maharashtra has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country at over 1,000.
Two more people tested positive for coronavirus in Dharavi area in Mumbai on Wednesday, taking the total number of such cases in the densely-populated slum area to nine.
The country’s financial hub is likely to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities race to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus cases in the city, news agency Reuters reported on Wednesday quoting three senior officials.
A 21-day nationwide lockdown that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in late March to fight the epidemic is officially set to end on April 14.
In his online address to the state, Chief Minister Thackeray regretted the inconvenience because of the lockdown, but said "we don’t have any other option". He appealed to former defence health services personnel, retired nurses and ward boys to join the "war" against coronavirus.
"Maharashtra needs you," he said, requesting volunteers to send their contact numbers on the email ID email@example.com.
Urging citizens to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, he said, "People should inculcate a habit using homemade masks while stepping out of their homes to buy essentials now, and also later when the situation improves."