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A Mask-less Goa: To Be or Not To Be, That Is The Question 

The state of Maharashtra, Delhi, Telangana, and West Bengal have announced complete relaxation of the Covid-19 norms starting from the month of April in view of the steady decline in the Covid-19 pandemic situation, notwithstanding the fresh surge being witnessed in China. While this means all pandemic curbs now stand withdrawn, whether to wear a mask or not is debatable as Maharashtra and Delhi have done away with the penalty for not wearing the mask in public places. 

Image Source: news18.com

To wear or not to wear the mask 

Mask is the first line of defense against Covid-19, not wearing which was made a punishable offense in the last two years of the pandemic. 

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Maharashtra has withdrawn its mandatory mask rule starting from April 2, but if anyone wants to wear one, they can of course wear it, health minister Rajesh Tope said. 

Like Maharashtra, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority has also decided that there will be no fine for not wearing a mask. In Delhi, the fine was ₹500. Telangana too has withdrawn its mask mandate.  

The West Bengal government has lifted all restrictions imposed because of the pandemic but said the mask mandate will continue. 

Why states are doing away with the mask 

Experts are divided over whether it is the right time to do away with the mask but whenever masks are done away with, the approach has to be cautious. It has to be done in phases, and the vulnerable age groups should continue with masks, doctors say. Moreover, the states are not doing away with the masks, but withdrawing the emergency provision of penalty which, in turn, will encourage people to not wear masks in the public. 

Last week, the Centre announced that all containment measures will end on March 31. But wearing of face mask and maintaining social distancing were advised. 

Is it the right time to unmask? 

Omicron BA.2 has emerged as a fresh concern across the world. Major cities of China have embraced quarantine once again. But India’s pandemic situation is only improving. Experts feel that does not warrant a complete withdrawal of the masks as it may lead to chaos. Also, those with symptoms should strictly continue wearing masks. 

Covid Restrictions In Goa 

As Covid cases continue to drop, the Goa state government has recently permitted all activities to be carried out at full capacity, including schools, casinos, cinema halls, multiplexes, theatres, auditoriums, large closed-business establishments, spas, massage parlours and swimming pools, among others, subject to adherence to Covid protocol. The government also stopped Covid tests at state borders, airports, railway stations and ports. 

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