In a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Andhra Pradesh government on Sunday, April 12, issued orders prohibiting the public from using and spitting tobacco, paan masala and other such chewable products in public places.
The order, which was released under the name of special chief secretary, medical, health and family welfare, KS Jawahar Reddy, stated that people in the state are hereby "refrained from consuming the smokeless tobacco or chewable tobacco/non-tobacco product, sputum etc and spitting in public places/institutions with immediate effect during the Covid epidemic."
The violators will be punished under the provisions of Indian Penal Code -1860 and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc), the order added.
The order was issued following a letter from the Under Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Tobacco Control Division) dated April 10. The letter informed the state of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR)'s appeal to the public not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco in public.
Furthermore, to curb the spread of the virus, the state government on Sunday decided to distribute three masks each to the entire population of 5.3 crore people in the State.
Speaking at a review meeting, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, directed the officials to make arrangements to supply of 16 crore masks "at the earliest" for protection.
At the meeting, the officials informed the CM that a third round of health survey covering 1.43 crore households out of a total of 1.47 crore households in the state has identified 32,349 people for medical examination.
While COVID-19 tests were prescribed for 9,107 among them, the Chief Minister insisted that all the 32,249 people be tested so as not to leave anything to chance.
As of Monday morning, the state has reported 432 positive cases, of which 12 people had recovered, and 7 people had died.