Wear mask even at home, don’t invite anyone over: Health Ministry tells citizens

The Health Ministry added that not wearing a mask can increase the risk of transmission to 90%.
Man carrying a child
Man carrying a child
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Amid a raging second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India, the Union government on Monday stressed the need to adhere to COVID-19 norms and asked people to wear their face masks inside their homes too. Addressing a joint press conference with other senior functionaries, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Lav Agarwal said research has shown that if no physical distancing measures are followed, one person can infect 406 people in 30 days.

If physical exposure is reduced by 50%, then one person can infect around 15 people during the period. And, if physical exposure is reduced by 75%, then one person can infect around 2.5 people in 30 days, he added.

The Health Ministry also stressed the need to wear masks, saying that not wearing a mask can increase the risk of transmission to 90%.

“It is time that people start wearing masks inside their homes as well. Don't go out, don't invite anyone into your homes. And don't panic. This disease is serious only in a small proportion of individuals. Please promote home care, there are simpler therapies, please promote them,” said VK Paul, NITI Aayog Member (Health).

VK Paul also called for expediting the pace of the vaccination drive and asserted that women can take COVID-19 vaccine during menstruation as well.

The Health Ministry also added that many people have been found to be occupying hospital beds out of panic, and that it is causing more harm than good. Hospital admission should only be on the advice of doctors, Lav Agarwal said. Amid a shortage of medical oxygen, the government said India has enough medical oxygen available, but the challenge is to transport it to hospitals.

The government said it is taking various measures to ensure adequate supply of oxygen to hospitals. The government asked hospitals for judicious use of oxygen and to plug leakage, if any.

The government also said that rational use of medical oxygen and appropriate prescription of drugs such as remdesivir, tocilizumab are critical in the fight against the pandemic. The government said the effectiveness of remdesivir on critical patients is "not well-established" yet as it suggested use of other prescribed drugs.

Agarwal said that no matter how much infrastructure is ramped up, it will come under stress looking at the population of the country and added that it is important to curb the infection. 

On the vaccination drive, Agarwal said of the 14.19 crore vaccine doses administered in India so far, 9.79 crore people aged 45 and above have got the first dose and 1.03 crore in the age bracket have received the second dose.

India's daily COVID-19 infection tally and death toll have touched new peaks in the past few days. 

The country recorded 3,52,991 cases, the highest so far, taking the tally of cases to 1,73,13,163 while active cases have crossed the 28-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.

The death toll increased to 1,95,123 with a record 2,812 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

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