A health inspector at Melakkal Primary Health Centre (PHC) says that there have been several instances of people walking to nearby tea shops without wearing face masks. When they walk on streets, they wear masks or at least wrap a towel around their mouth and nose. But when they work in farms they do not wear mask as they say that they find it difficult to breathe, he says.
In Melur block where a total of 17 COVID-19cases have been recorded till date, many people have been moving freely in streets without masks, says Panchayat Union councillor K. Kallampatti village G. Purushottaman. Some residents were initially scared about people from other villages entering our area. We barricaded streets. Now, it seems like the disease is not as deadly as we thought it was. Everyone in Melur thought that if one gets affected by coronavirus they would die. But now we see that several people have returned unscathed, he says. M. Ramalingam, a farmer from Kottampatti, says that though there is enforcement by authorities there is little or no fear regarding COVID-19. Many people believe that they will not be affected by it, he says. In Usilampatti and Kallikudi blocks, staff nurses say that they feel as if they are in danger as most do not have masks. Deputy Director of Health Services Priya Raj says that antenatal mothers have been given free masks through PHCs and mobile health units. She adds that officers from all departments have been attempting to seal shops that do not maintain social distancing. According to a statement from the district administration, 1,762 people have been fined 1,83,000 since May 20.