Amid reports of police personnel prosecuting people for not wearing a mask even when they are travelling alone in a car, the Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that there was no directive from them that people should wear masks when they are driving a car without any co-passengers.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan also said that the Health Ministry has not directed people cycling, exercising and jogging alone to wear a mask. However, he added that these activities are carried out in groups of two or more. Hence, people are required to wear a mask.
The 'compulsory wearing of face cover' directive was given by the Union Home Ministry and not the Health Ministry. According to the Home Ministry’s National Directive for COVID-19 Management, “Wearing of face cover is compulsory in public places; in workplaces; and during transport”. However, the directive does not mention whether it could be imposed while travelling, cycling, exercising and jogging alone.
The Delhi Traffic Police had on June 29 said, "If you are driving with a co-passenger it is mandatory to use mask or you are alone it is not mandatory."
However, on August 21, the Delhi Traffic Police said that it was mandatory for every person, even if they are driving alone in car, to wear a mask.
Meanwhile, with the highest single-day spike of 83,883 new coronavirus cases, India's coronavirus case count crossed 38.50 lakh on Thursday. The death toll reached 67,376 after 1,043 more persons succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours.
The Health Ministry said that the count of coronavirus cases in the country stands at 38,53,407 including 8,15,538 active cases and 29,70,493 cured/discharged/migrated patients.