More than two weeks since violations of COVID-19 prevention norms were made compoundable offences by the government under the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act, a total of 50,212 violations have been recorded and ₹1.06 crore in fines imposed in the State, Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said on Monday.

Conducting inspections in Tiruvallur district, primarily to reinforce the importance of wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing, he said the government’s intention was not to impose fines on the people. So far, ₹1,06,90,975 had been collected as fines.

Violation of quarantine measures and physical distancing, non-wearing of masks and spitting in public places can be fined.

“Doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel have an appeal to the public. They want us to sensitise the public. People have a responsibility. They need to wear masks and maintain physical distancing in public places, including at bus stands, markets and places of worship, and while attending marriages and funerals,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

At the Tiruvallur bus stand and vegetable market, officials launched a campaign to educate the people on the importance of wearing masks. Collector Mageswari Ravikumar was present during the inspection.

While COVID-19 cases were stabilising in certain districts, it was important to stay extremely careful. “Cases are surging in a few districts, such as Coimbatore, Salem and Cuddalore, that had a low number of cases earlier. In districts that had high figures earlier and are consistently recording lesser cases, there is a tendency to take the disease casually, not wear masks and maintain physical distancing,” he said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan later visited the government hospital and the COVID-19 Care Centre at Tiruttani and interacted with patients and healthcare providers in the COVID-19 ward of Tiruvallur Government Medical College Hospital. “In Tiruttani town, many people were not using masks at all. Doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel are risking their lives for the people. In these tough circumstances, they are appealing to the public not to flout norms,” he said.

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