As the number of coronavirus cases in Maharashtra had crossed 1,000, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) made wearing face masks mandatory in public places. Mumbai is the first city in India to make masks compulsory.
"All person must wear a three-ply mask or a cloth mask in public places such as streets, hospitals, offices and markets," Praveen Pardeshi, Mumbai Municipal Commissioner said in a letter.
These masks can be the standard ones available at medical outlets. People can even wear home-made masks which are washable and can be reused. Face masks are mandatory for anyone even if the person is moving around in a vehicle. None will attend any meeting or gathering without wearing mask, said Pardeshi.
Those who fail to comply will punishable under the Section 188 of Indian Penal Code, said municipal corporation.
Pardeshi explained that the measure was necessitated as studies have revealed that wearing face masks can substantially reduce the spread of coronavirus from and to persons coming in contact with each other, besides other mandatory social distancing measures.
Mumbai, the financial capital of India, so far confirmed over 500 coronavirus cases. The number of coronavirus patients in Maharashtra climbed to 1,078 today, according to ministry of health ans welfare. As many as 64 people died due to COVID-19 infection in state.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also urged people to use masks while going out of their homes.
Thackeray appealed to retired Army health services personnel to join the state government's effort of containing the coronavirus outbreak.
"I want to appeal to all retired Army personnel who have experience of medical field, nurses, ward boys, and those who have completed the training but didn't work for some reason, you must come forward to join us," Uddhav Thackeray said.
India is under 21-day nationwide lockdown till April 14 to mitigate the deadly coronavirus spread which killed more 80,000 people around the world. Mumbai is set to extend lockdown measures until at least April 30 as authorities plan to expand testing to stem the spread of coronavirus in the city, according to a report in Reuters.
"In Mumbai cases are rising too fast. In just 24 hours 100 cases were reported on Tuesday," said a senior state government official told Reuters.