GUWAHATI: Many people are roaming on the streets and visiting public places across the State without wearing face masks. Besides being oblivious of the danger getting infected by the COVID-19 majority of these people have one more reason for their irresponsible behaviour. Besides, the exercise of imposition of fine of Rs 1,000 on those for not wearing mask is almost missing for the past two months.
Even in Guwahati, the police are rarely seen imposing fines on individuals for not wearing masks in public places. Though the police collected a good amount of fines between September and October 2020, the quantum of such monetary penalty went down drastically in November and December last year.
"With the decline in the COVID-positivity rate and deaths, a sense of complacency has gripped the mindset of a large section of the public. This is a dangerous trend because COVID is still not over. Masks have to stay because they work like a vaccine. The administration and police will have to be tough against those not wearing masks," said a senior doctor at Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH).
"Mask is like a fabric vaccine. We cannot ignore the contribution made by masks in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Masks play an important role in shielding also those people safe who had recovered from COVID-19. Considering the changing characteristic of the COVID virus, wearing masks may even never go away. The vaccine will give some protection; but masks or the fabric vaccine will have to continue," added the doctor.
The sense of complacency about COVID-safety protocols among the people is also evident from a decline in the sale of face masks. Consequently, prices of masks have also gone down due to the low demand.
Senior citizen Buddhadev Bhuyan said that politicians who are ruling the State are setting precedents to violate the COVID-safety norms such as non-wearing of masks.
"Masks became a thing of the past once the campaigning for the BTC elections started in November last year. Since then, the trend has continued," pointed out Bhuyan.