Social distancing, use of masks essential to prevent spread of COVID: Govt

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New Delhi, Apr 26 (PTI) Social distancing and use of masks are essential measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection, the government said on Monday.

Addressing a news conference, Lav Agrawal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, cited studies to buttress the point.

He said many universities have researched that if a COVID-19 positive person does not follow the social distancing measures, then in 30 days the person can infect 406 people.

'If the infected person reduces physical exposure by 50 per cent, then it has been found that 15 people are infected instead of 406. If the infected person reduces the physical exposure by 75 per cent, then the same (infected) person can infect 2.5 people in 30 days,' Agrawal said. It is necessary that on one hand there should be a focus on clinical management, while on the other hand the focus must be on controlling COVID-19, he stressed.

Agrawal also re-emphasised on the use of masks.

'Study shows that if we are at a distance of six-feet, even then there is a chance of a COVID positive person transmitting the virus to an uninfected person. You can find this situation at home in case of home isolation cases. If masks are not used properly, then there is a 90 per cent chance of an infected person infecting an uninfected person,' the joint secretary said.

If an uninfected person wears a mask and a COVID-19 positive person does not wear one then there is a 30 per cent chance of infecting the uninfected person, he said.

If both, COVID positive and uninfected persons wear masks, then the chance of getting infected is 1.5 per cent.

'Couple this with a six-feet distance between two people, then there is negligible risk of the spread of the infection across two people,' Agrawal said. PTI PR KJ