All COVID curbs lifted, but mask rule remains in Telangana

With no further renewal of the orders, Telangana, on February 1, became the first state in India to remove all Covid related restrictions

HYDERABAD: The third wave of Covid-19 may be over officially in Telangana but there has been no change in the government-imposed mandate of wearing masks in public places.

Other than the directive related to mandatory wearing of masks while in public places, all other restrictions have been lifted in the state, according to director of public health and family welfare, Dr G. Srinivasa Rao.

It may be recalled that the state government issued on January 1, amidst fears of a severe new Covid-19 wave, a set of directives governing public behaviour including the need to maintain physical distance from one another while in a public place. These orders were extended twice during the month. The validity of the orders, with their last extension on January 21, expired on January 31.

With no further renewal of the orders, Telangana, on February 1, became the first state in India to remove all Covid-19 related restrictions. “With the exception of wearing masks,” Dr Srinivasa Rao told Deccan Chronicle.

It was on February 8 that Dr Srinivasa Rao announced that the third wave of Covid-19 ended in Telangana, with daily cases dipping for a week. “In the next week or so, we might even see total cases limited to just a couple of hundreds,” he said on that occasion.

By allowing its orders, originally issued on January 1, which were careful to say they were being issued in light of “reported increase in Covid-19 cases in certain states of the country” with no mention of cases rising in Telangana too at that time, the government put an end to all restrictions on public gatherings, rallies, public meetings, as well as “mass gatherings of all types including religious, political, and cultural events.”

What the government’s decision to quietly drop the restrictions means is that beginning February 1, managements of public transport, malls, shops, establishments and offices were no longer required to have “strict compliance” of ensuring physical distancing, frequent sanitisation of premises, and screening of people for any Covid related symptoms such as fever.

The lifting of the restrictions also means that all educational institutions can function with full attendance of students. None of these establishments, henceforth, will also be required to provide any additional hand sanitisation measures.

The government, however, by continuing with the mask mandate, reserved the right to penalise anyone not wearing a mask while in a public space with a fine of Rs 1,000.

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