50% of Indians Still Don't Wear Masks, 64% Don't Cover Nose: Union Health Ministry

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Nearly 50 per cent of people in India do not wear masks the Union Health Ministry said citing a study as the country battles the surge in covid-19 cases amid the deadly second wave. Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said, “As per a study, 50 per cent of people in India are not wearing masks. Of those who wear, 64 per cent cover mouth but not nose.”

Urging people to follow guidelines, Agarwal at a press conference on Thursday said physical distancing is the most important vaccine in covid-19 management and critical intervention.

“Similarly, the use of masks is also important. If an infected person and a non-infected person do not wear a mask, then there are 90 per cent chances of transmission of infection. But, if those two persons follow social distancing and wear masks, then the infection risk is almost negligible”, he was quoted as saying.

Citing a study, he said it was found that out of 2,000 people in 25 cities, 50 per cent of the citizens were found not wearing masks. Of the other fifty per cent were found wearing masks, it was found that 64 per cent of those who wear masks don’t cover their nose properly, 20 per cent have it on their chins, 2 per cent have masks on their neck and only 14 per cent of them wear it correctly by covering nose, mouth, chin and with a clip on the nose”, he added.

Agarwal said India has witnessed a consistent upward trend in weekly tests since mid February with average daily tests increased by 2.3 times in last 12 weeks. “After a consistent increase in case positivity for 10 weeks, a decline in case positivity since last 2 weeks has been reported,” he added.

Agarwal said the country’s positivity rate in the last ten has been recorded less than 20 per cent and positivity rate was recorded at 13.31 per cent on Wednesday which was the lowest in a month.

“Eight states have more than 1 lakh active cases, nine states have 50,000 to 1 lakh active cases and 19 states have less than 50000 active. A decline has been observed in six states which were major contributors to active cases in the country — Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh Gujarat,” he said.

Seven states have more than 25 per cent positivity rate, while 9 states have between 20-25 positivity rate. Twenty-two states have more than 15 per cent positivity rate, 13 states have 5 to 15 per cent positivity rate and one state has less than 5 per cent positivity, he said.

Agarwal said the number of districts with a week-on-week increase in weekly tests and decline in positivity considered for the week has increased from 210 to 303 districts.

“Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Jharkhand are 10 states where a decline in cases and decline in positivity in the last 3 weeks have been observed,” he added.

Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram are states showing a rise in cases and rise in positivity in last three weeks, he said.

Agarwal further said that there are 89 districts where a decreasing trend in cases is being noted and there are 123 districts where a decreasing trend in case positivity is being observed for last three weeks.

(With PTI inputs)

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