While several states have banned spitting in public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Jharkhand government has gone a step ahead by imposing a ban on the sale and use of tobacco products in the state. Products such as cigarettes, bidi, pan masala, hookah, gutka, and electronic cigarettes will not be sold or consumed in Jharkhand. The order was issued by the Principal Secretary (Health) Dr Nitin Madan Kulkarni.
Further, the Information and Public Relations Department of Jharkhand said if someone is found spitting tobacco in public places, he or she will be imprisonment for a period of six months. "Spitting in public places increases the risk of spreading of COVID-19," Kulkarni said. The State Government has directed the local administration and police to initiate action against anyone found violating the order.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also appealed to the people not to consume and spit smokeless tobacco in public places. The apex health research body said chewing smokeless tobacco products (gutka, pan masala with tobacco, pan, and other chewing tobacco products) and areca nut (supari) increases the production of saliva, followed by a very strong urge to spit.
"Spitting in public places could enhance the spread of the COVID-19 virus," the ICMR said. "In view of the increasing danger of COVID-19 pandemic, it is an appeal to the general public to refrain from consuming the smokeless tobacco products and spitting in public places during the COVID epidemic."
Four more persons tested positive for COVID-19 in Jharkhand on Monday, taking the number of cases to 45 in the state, a senior health department official said. The state has reported two COVID-19 deaths so far. Of the total positive cases, Ranchi district accounts for the maximum number of cases at 25, followed by 10 in Bokaro. Meanwhile, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren expressed happiness at the recovery of four COVID-19 patients.
"There is good news from the health department. Four coronavirus patients have recovered fully. This is the signal of our victory," Soren tweeted.
(With inputs from agencies)