The Indian Railways extended the coronavirus guidelines in trains for six months or until further order on Thursday, citing the possibility of a third wave of COVID.
Passengers discovered without masks on railway premises or in trains will be fined up to Rs 500 under the new norms, according to the Railways. Following its incorporation as a violation under the Railway Act, the Railway Ministry imposed the penalty.
The Railway Ministry imposed this punishment on violators in April of this year, as part of a series of measures taken by the railways to ensure compliance with the different COVID-19 protocols established by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs to limit the virus’s spread.
Wearing a face mask is mandatory
Read the Notice here:
The Indian Railways (Penalties for activities affecting cleanliness at Railway Premises) Rules, 2012, will include the necessary use of masks and the penalties, as well as the provision of fines for anyone discovered spitting on rail premises.
“Given the COVID-19 situation, controlling spitting and act of similar nature due to any person not wearing a mask and entering railway premises (including trains) is important to avoid the creation of unclean and unhygienic conditions which may cause danger to life and public health, ” the earlier order had said.
The notice issued earlier this year
Indian Railways declared in April that anyone caught not wearing a face mask on railway property, including trains, will be fined Rs 500.
The directive was made in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. The measure will be in effect for six months, or until further notice is given.
The Indian Railways order reads, “to prevent spitting and act of similar nature and this to ensure the wearing of face masks/face cover by all persons at railway premises (including trains), fines (up to Rs 500) under Indian Railways (Penalties for activities affecting cleanliness at Railway Premises) Rules, 2012 shall be imposed by railway officials authorized for this purpose, from persons not wearing face mask/ cover in Railway premises (including trains).”
The order added, “Railway may take action with immediate effect for six (6) months till further issued in this regard”.
State governments have started issuing rules imposing severe fines on persons who do not use face masks in public as a result of the rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
An individual detected not wearing a face mask would face a first-time offender fine of Rs 1,000, according to the Uttar Pradesh government. Repeat offenders would be subject to a fine of Rs 10,000.
Rising Covid -19 cases
Fearing a third wave, which has already affected other countries, the government has urged that large gatherings should be avoided during the festival season.
“I don’t think it should be any surprise that India is seeing an increase in the number of cases of COVID 19 now. We are just following the global trend which has been true in countries that are a few months ahead of us in the pandemic,” Dr. Sonam Solanki, Consultant Pulmonologist and Bronchoscopist, Masina Hospital, Mumbai said.
According to data from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the financial capital has reported nearly 28% of the total COVID-19 cases it had documented in the entire month of August in the first six days of this month, according to news agency PTI.
“As public spaces like malls, restaurants, and mass gatherings open up we will be going to see an increase in numbers eventually more ahead. While it is the governing body’s responsibility to ensure smooth and aggressive vaccination for the remaining citizens. it would be the responsibility of the citizens to ensure they are still careful with COVID friendly protocols as well,” Dr. Sonam said.
She went on to say that isolating people at the correct moment can assist reduce numbers and that the third wave does not have to be a crisis.
“An increase in numbers does not mean an increase in hospitalization and death. If we isolate at the right time and make sure we do not carry this to others, numbers can still be curbed and the third wave need not be a crisis,” she said.
Dr. Samiran Panda, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, previously stated that states that did not experience a severe second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic are now seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, indicating the start of the third wave.
“Several states began imposing COVID-19 restrictions and increased vaccinations, learning from Delhi and Maharashtra. Due to this, the second wave in several states was not as intense, leaving scope for a third wave. Therefore, the increasing number of COVID-19 infections in some states presently is indicating the third wave,” Dr. Samiran Panda said in an interview with news agency ANI.