New Delhi: The sudden lifting of Covid-19 Appropriate Behaviour and other related restrictions are not good as the pandemic is not yet over, Dr Sunila Garg, Member Lancet Commission and Covid-19 Task Force said on Saturday.
"Mask mandates must continue at crowded places. Since everybody is tired of wearing masks, not fining them would lead to more people ditching it, which is not good as the pandemic is yet not over. Some parts of world are facing another outbreak threat", Dr Garg told IANS.
Dr Garg said that there should be an integrated approach on lifting the Covid restrictions. "Mask doesn't stop Covid infection only, but it also prevents other airborne infections, pollution and other respiratory illnesses. Masks must be continued", she said.
Removing mask mandates will bring the challenging burden of Tuberculosis and drug resistant TB as such incidents were under control during last two years because of masks, added Dr Garg.
Despite a sudden surge in Covid infection globally, India continues on a downward trend. States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Telangana, West Bengal have announced relaxation of the Covid-19 norms starting from April.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority, in its order, on Friday said that no penalty will be imposed for not wearing mask from immediate effect in the national capital. However, it has advised its continued usage in crowded places.
"Now DDMA has decided that it is advisable for the public to wear masks in public places, however, no penalty will be imposed for not wearing them till further orders", said DDMA in its official order.
While speaking with IANS, Dr Jacob John, Epidemiologist at CMC Vellore, said that a mask can decrease the rate of infection, but it cannot prevent another wave. A mask can't prevent the new Covid variant from emerging.
"Fines are improper ways of controlling the people. Masks do decrease respiratory secretions and protect the people, but it should be recommended, not enforced", said Dr John, adding that it should be worn at crowded places as it not only prevents Covid infection but also pneumonia, allergies, pollutants and several others ailments.