The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on November 29 announced its decision to give away free masks to those found without face cover in public and also collect a fine of Rs 200 from them.
In a release on November 29, BMC said between April and November 28 it collected over Rs 10.7 crore in fines from 4.85 lakh citizens not wearing masks in public places.
The BMC said when an offender, after being fined, goes ahead without a face mask, the objective of implementing the COVID-19 prevention protocol remains unfulfilled.
'Therefore, in order to fulfil the objective, the citizen concerned will be provided a free mask and charged a penalty of Rs 200,' it said.
The relevant penalty receipt will also mention about the free mask, it said.
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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
To curb the spread of infection in the post-Diwali season, the civic body has increased inspection drives in the city, with the violation of mask rule attracting a penalty of Rs 200.
From April till November 28, the maximum number of 32,010 citizens without masks were fined in the K-west ward, which includes areas like Juhu and Versova, a BMC official said, adding that Rs 63.39 lakh was collected as fine from them, reported news agency PTI.
Besides sanitisation of hands and maintaining social distance, regular use of masks is necessary for controlling the spread of coronavirus infection, he added.
With inputs from PTI.