Indian medics team visit a COVID-19 hotspot area that has been sealed during lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus in Bangalore, India, May 29, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)
Indian states have imposed bans on consumption, spitting and smoking of tabacco and its products in public to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
MUMBAI, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Indian states are on a spree to ban consumption, spitting and smoking of tobacco and tobacco products in public places following a directive by federal government to all states in the country.
On Saturday, India's western state of Maharashtra and South-Western state of Karnataka announced a ban following a similar ban announced by the Northern state of Rajasthan and North Eastern state of Jharkhand.
"Spitting also contributes to spreading COVID-19. Considering this, we have decided to implement the prohibitory laws more strictly. Violators will have to pay a fine of 13 dollars for first offence, 40 U.S. dollars for second and 66 U.S. dollars for subsequent offence," Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra health minister said.
Maharashtra is the worst affected Indian state with over 62,000 positive COVID-19 cases and its political capital Mumbai tops the list among cities in Asia's third largest economy with close to 37,000 positive cases so far.
Earlier this month, India's federal health minister appealed to all states to ban sale of tobacco products and spitting in public places to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India has the second largest tobacco users in the world with 268 million or 28.6 percent of all adults in India, and 1.2 million succumbing to tobacco-related diseases every year.■