Rajasthan minister exhorts people not to lower guard as experts predict second wave of COVID-19

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Jaipur, Nov 6 (PTI) Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma on Friday said the coronavirus curve is flattening but exhorted people not to lower their guard as experts predict a second wave in winter months.

'Experts believe that a second wave may come prior to December 15 this year, so people have to be very cautious, wear masks, maintain social distancing and wash hands frequently to keep themselves safe,' Sharma said in a statement.

He said that according to the experts, there will also be an increase in the cases of seasonal diseases such as swine flu, dengue, cold and cough in the winter and if the pollution levels rise, coronavirus cases will certainly surge.

'If people wear mask and maintain discipline for a month, then corona chain can be broken,” the health minister said.

Sharma said that according to the experts masks are better than vaccine as the effect of a vaccine will not be more than 60 per cent whereas by wearing masks regularly, the chances of infection can be brought down by 90 per cent.

He said that Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the Public Movement Against Corona on October 2 in the entire state.

The campaign has been extended up to November 30 and people are being told about the importance of wearing masks. Apart from this, ‘No Mask, No Entry’ campaign is also becoming successful, as not only government offices, but private offices, shops, commercial establishments and others are abiding by this and people are not allowed to enter until they wear a mask.

The health minister said the US, the UK and western countries are witnessing the second and third waves of COVID-19 and cases have increased more than twice and thrice compared to the first phase.

He said, 'People in Rajasthan will have to develop the habit of wearing masks. There are many benefits of wearing masks, as it reduces the risk of several serious diseases. It has been aimed to eliminate tuberculosis by 2025 as wearing masks can control the cases of tuberculosis, asthma, allergy and other infectious diseases. Masks play an important role in prevention of silicosis and will prove effective.' Sharma said that Rajasthan under the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has managed the COVID-19 pandemic well with recovery rate being above 90% and the fatality rate being less than 1%. The testing facilities are available at 22 government and 16 private labs and hospitals where authentic RT-PCR tests are being done.

The state has developed the infrastructure to conduct more than 52,000 tests per day. Two testing labs are about to be opened soon at Pratapgarh district hospital and at Nathdwara sub-district hospital and testing facilities will be started at all the district headquarters and district hospitals by the end of November.

The Health Minister said that the cases of corona in the state are seeing a dip but the after effects of corona are very serious as the virus is affecting brain/heart/kidneys/lungs/pancreas after recovery. Many casualties have taken place after turning COVID negative.

The officers have been directed to make 25,000 oxygen cylinders available per day for the second wave. Apart from this, oxygen generation plants are being set up at district hospitals, sub-district hospitals and hospitals attached to medical colleges in the State so that corona infected patients do not face lack of oxygen for their treatment.

With regard to manpower, he said that during the coronavirus period, 765 doctors along with 12500 health workers were recruited and the process of recruiting 2,000 doctors is in progress.

The health department has been recruiting radiographers, lab technicians, ECG technicians and others. PTI AG SMN SMN