The decision to collect a fine of Rs 500 from members of the public was in the backdrop of laxity shown among people in adhering to COVID-19 protocols while in public places, Principal Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said.
"We have directed the officials of local administration, health and police department to collect fines from those members of public who were not seen wearing a facial mask while in public places,", he told reporters.
After showing a decline in COVID trend, both daily additions as well as the active case in the state have been on the rise over the past few days, with the state witnessing 39 new infections on Thursday.
Admitting that collection of a fine for not wearing a mask was relaxed earlier (as new cases were waning in Tamil Nadu), Radhakrishnan said these days people were not seen wearing a face-mask while in public.
"They may be travelling in a metropolitan bus or in a public place, but they are not seen wearing a mask", he said.
The health department has directed all the district administration to collect the fine of Rs 500 from public for not wearing mask and appealed to the people to follow the covid prevention guidelines as laid down by the government.
Radhakrishnan and senior health department officials were inspecting the premises of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, here which reported 12 coronavirus cases on Thursday, even as 18 new infections have emerged.
"From the 700-odd samples collected yesterday, 18 more people have tested positive totaling 30 till date. All of them are vaccinated and are doing well", he said.
He said the COVID-19 protocols should be strictly followed in the campus and the institute authorities have been given directions in this connection.
"All the people who tested positive were having mild symptoms like sore throat, fever and they are under isolation. They do not require hospitalisation. But, it it has been decided to keep King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research (in the city) as a reserve hospital", the official said.
Allaying fears of the spread of the virus, he said 1,16,451 beds were allotted to treat COVID-19 patients at government hospitals and only 18 people were admitted.
"Though it is good news, people are not following the COVID-19 appropriate behaviour which may lead to resurgence of the virus. Therefore, our appeal is that people should wear a mask while in public places, vaccinate themselves if they are eligible", he said.
To a query, he said the incident at IIT-M was not specific to that particular area and that it may happen anywhere if people do not follow the COVID-19 protocols.