Hyderabad: In view of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, the Telangana police have decided to strictly implement the rule relating to wearing of masks across the state in all public places with immediate effect.

A meeting with all commissioners of police, district superintendents of police, and all other officers up to the rank of SHOs was held through video conference on 9 April. Range DIsG, zonal IsGP and ADG (law and order) participated in the meeting.

Police officers across the state have been directed to coordinate with all stakeholders in the local communities, including resident's welfare associations and officials at the village and ward level, and ensure strict implementation of the rule relating to mandatory wearing of masks in public places. They have been directed to involve all self-help groups across the state in securing voluntary compliance of the local communities.

Strict enforcement measures, including prosecuting repeat offenders by registering specific cases, will be undertaken all over the state, the Telangana director-general of police said in a statement. Meanwhile, owners of various commercial establishments where gatherings are likely to take place, including malls, wine shops, pubs, hotels, restaurants, kirana shops, and petrol pumps have been directed not to allow the entry of people without masks. They have also been directed to display appropriate signages accordingly in their establishments at prominent places and ensure the same as required under the National Disaster Management Act.

The director-general of police also requested the public to cooperate with the police department in ensuring 100 per cent compliance of norms relating to wearing of masks and maintaining social distance to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

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