The Telangana government on Thursday made it optional for citizens to wear masks, except for those aged above 60 years, reported The News Minute.
At a press conference, Telangana Director of Public Health G Srinivasa Rao noted that most of the coronavirus-related restrictions have been lifted across the country.
But he said: “Since it [wearing masks] cannot be enforced on all, please advise people to take individual responsibility. Especially when you go to crowded places like malls, markets, you are requested to wear a mask. It’s your personal choice, for those who are not elderly and don’t have comorbidities.”
Rao said that the Covid-19 situation in the state was under control and only 30-40 cases were being reported daily.
“Cases are no longer being reported in 10 districts of the state while one or two cases are being reported in the remaining districts,” Rao added, reported The Times of India. “Therefore, Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted completely from April 1.”
He said that all beneficiaries aged 18 years and above have been administered both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
On Thursday, Telangana recorded 31 new coronavirus cases and zero deaths. Hyderabad reported the highest infection count with 23 cases.
At the press conference, Rao said that the mask mandate has been in place for over two years and during this time people have not been able to indulge in proper social interactions as they have been unable to discern the facial expressions of others due to the face covering.
“A fine of Rs 1,000 is still in place [for not wearing a mask in public places], I request the police department to let it slide,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland have also lifted restrictions, but wearing of mask will remain mandatory in the two states, according to PTI. On Friday morning, there were 137 active cases of Covid-19 in Himachal Pradesh and 16 in Nagaland, according to data from the Union health ministry.
Earlier on Thursday, Maharashtra and Delhi also said that wearing face masks in public was no longer necessary. The West Bengal government also lifted all restrictions on Thursday, but citizens would still need to wear masks at public places, ANI reported.
The number of coronavirus cases in the country have gradually dipped in the last two months. On April 1, India recorded just 1,335 coronavirus cases, down from 1,67,059 infections reported on February 1.
The toll too dropped to 52 on Friday from 1,192 deaths recorded two months ago.
Last week, the Union Home Ministry had decided to end all Covid-19 containment measures from March 31. The ministry had said it has taken into consideration the overall improvement of the situation, including the continuous decline in cases.
On March 27, the government had also resumed regular international passenger flights to and from India. All scheduled international flights had been suspended on March 23, 2020, ahead of a countrywide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.