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Despite being made mandatory, wearing a mask not a priority for many Gurugram residents

By Abhishek Behl, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON MAY 30, 2020 11:13 PM IST

While wearing a mask when stepping out of the house has been made mandatory by the state government and is also considered as the primary defense against contracting the coronavirus disease, many people in Gurugram are still seen without masks. Many residents said that a lot of people are not following preventive measure and are visiting public spaces without proper face covers.

Be it morning walkers enjoying the morning air or people shopping in Sadar Bazar, many people can be spotted without a mask even as the number of Covid-19 in the district keeps rising. In the last three days, nearly 350 cases have been reported in the district.

Members of the city market associations said many people often take offense when asked to wear masks. “I asked two-three young men in the Sector 22 market to wear masks, but they objected to my request and even got a bit aggressive. This has happened before also, so now we prefer to offer masks only to those who are willing to take it,” said Rakesh Malik, president, Sector 22 market association.

A shopkeeper in Sector 23, who sells shoes, said he has placed some disposable masks at his shop for customers, however, many choose not to wear it.

On Wednesday, the state government had announced that anyone found not wearing masks in public spaces or spitting in open would have to pay a fine of 500.

The administration said that it has formed teams to ensure that people across the city wear masks. “Our teams are monitoring public spaces and fines to 126 persons (till Saturday evening) have been issued for not wearing masks and spitting in public spaces. We will continue to carry on such inspections. We are also using social media and other traditional platforms to reach out to people and make them aware of preventive measures against Covid-19,” said Amit Khatri, deputy commissioner, Gurugram.

Despite the stress by authorities on wearing masks, many choose not to cover their faces at all prompting some to call out such behaviour on social media. “We are horribly irresponsible as human beings. I had a long discussion with my neighbour who was not wearing a mask and downplayed the tragedy and blamed the government (sic),” wrote Rohit Mishra, a city resident on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

Medical experts reiterated that wearing a mask is crucial to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “This is a droplet infection and it is important to prevent these droplets from entering the body. At present there is no vaccine against Covid-19, so wearing a mask is important. Wearing a mask correctly is equally important as many times the mouth is covered but the nose is exposed,” said Dr Vikram Aryan, who runs a private clinic on Old Gurgaon Road.

Dr Aryan said despite the mounting of cases not everyone can be seen using masks. “Health care professionals need to wear N95 masks, while the general public can wear disposable medical masks or cloth masks,” he said.

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