Number of people adhering to COVID-19 norms has fallen drastically, says survey

Poor enforcement by local authorities, low case load cited as reasons

Amid a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases, only 30% of the people in the country are complying with the norm of wearing masks and only 12% are observing distancing norms, a survey that covered 8,000 respondents has found.

The respondents said with a fall in cases in tier 2, 3 and 4 towns and rural areas and with social events being permitted, people believed that there was no need to fear. Also, the survey found that in metropolitan cities and tier 1 and 2 districts, the compliance was better.

LocalCircles, which conducted the survey, said it had received reports from citizens about non-compliance with the wearing of masks and the lack of physical distance in public and private events and markets.

With schools beginning to function in many States and workplaces making physical attendance mandatory, people had also started returning to pre-COVID-19 activities, the survey said.

The responses to the survey came from people in 238 districts in the country. As many as 51% of them lived in a metro or tier 1 district while 28% were located in tier 2 districts. Tier 3, 4 or rural districts accounted for 21% of the responses.

Additional masks

LocalCircles pointed out that while in countries around the world, people were upgrading their masks or going in for double basic masks for protection, in India mask compliance fell from 67% in September to 30% now.

The respondents said discomfort, poor enforcement of rules by local authorities and the declining case load in their area were the reasons for the lowering of the guard. As many as 35% respondents in tier 1 cities rated mask-wearing as effective in their cities. In tier 2 locations, it dropped to 29% and in tier 3 and 4 and rural locations, it fell to 19%, the survey found. Data analysed based on locations found that compliance with physical distancing norms was 15% effective in tier 1 locations; 10% in tier 2 locations; and 7.5% in tier 3 and 4 and rural locations.

The survey pointed out that the experiences of Maharashtra and Kerala should serve as a warning to ensure better compliance.

“States that are seeing even a minor rise week over week must sensitise residents about wearing masks and following physical distancing norms and take timely calls on imposing localised restrictions in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and its mutant strains,” the survey said.

Of those who were surveyed 32% were women respondents; 51% were from tier 1; 28% from tier 2 and 21% were from tier 3 and 4 and rural districts.

LocalCircles is a community social media platform that enables the government to make policies that are citizen and small business-centric.

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