Hyderabad: The Telangana government on 27 March issued an order making it mandatory to wear masks in all public places, workspaces, and public transport.

In the order, Somesh Kumar, the chief secretary, said, "Wearing of masks in all public places, workspaces, and public means of transport shall be mandatory across the state. Any deviation in this regard shall attract prosecution under section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 and Section 188, IPC as well as other applicable laws."

This comes after an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the state in the past few days.

Sections 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act attracts imposition of a fine, imprisonment up to two years or both, while Section 188 of the IPC attracts imprisonment of up to six months, a fine up to Rs. 1,000 or both.

The government also imposed restrictions on public gatherings, congregations, rallies, and processions during the upcoming religious events till 30 April.

"Congregations pose a considerable threat of rapid transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, it is decided that public celebrations/observances should not be allowed in the state during upcoming religious events such as Shab-e-Barat, Holi, Ugadi, Rama Navami, Mahavir Jayanti, Good Friday, and Ramzan till 30 April," Mr. Kumar said in another order.

He directed all district collectors and commissioners and superintendents of police to strictly implement these instructions across the state.

Meanwhile, Telangana reported 535 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday taking the overall tally to 3,06,339 in the state. The state also reported three new deaths taking the total death toll to 1,688. The fatality rate in the state is 0.55 per cent which is less than the national average of 1.3 per cent.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area on Saturday reported 154 new cases while the neighbouring Rangareddy district reported 39 new cases. Medchal Malkajgiri reported 49 and Sangareddy 22 new COVID-19 cases.

Other districts of Telangana are also seeing a surge in cases. On Thursday Mahboobnagar reported 21 new cases while Khammam reported 16 and Nizamabad 32.

Around 278 people recovered from the infection on Saturday taking total recoveries in the state to 3,00,156. The recovery rate, as per the government, now stands at 97.98 per cent, which is approximately three per cent higher than the national average of 95.1 per cent.

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