NEW DELHI: The government on Monday advised people to wear masks even at home, conceding that the new strain of Covid-19 virus that has led to a massive explosion of cases across India, is much more transmissible.The Centre’s note of caution comes amid concerns that the virus remains suspended in the air in the form of aerosol.
At a press briefing by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the situation in the country V K Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog said that this is the time to be at home, not invite anyone over and avoid stepping out unnecessarily.
“If there is Covid-19 positive case in the family, it is very important that the person wears a mask even indoors because the virus can spread to others in the home. I would rather go on to say that the time has come that we start wearing masks at home even otherwise,” Paul, who also heads the national Covid-19 task force, said.
Authorities also stressed on immediate isolation of anyone with symptoms, in order to break the chain of transmission. “Do not wait for the reports to come. Isolate. There is a chance that RT-PCR tests can be negative, as it is not 100% sensitive,” said Randeep Guleria, director, AIIMS, Delhi , who is also a member of the task force.
Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry, highlighted the risks of not wearing masks. Referring to studies, he said there is a 90% risk of infection associated with two individuals not wearing a mask and not maintaining adequate social distancing. It becomes 30% if the unaffected person is wearing a mask, he said.
328 oxygen concentrators from US
Air India on Monday brought 328 oxygen concentrators to India on its New York-Delhi flight, said civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri. Earlier, SpiceXpress, the air cargo arm of SpiceJet, airlifted 800 concentrators from Hong Kong for emergency use and distribution across the country.
Distribution remains the challenge
The Centre on Monday said there is no shortage of oxygen, but conceded that distribution and transportation is a challenge. This comes a day after Home Minister Amit Shah said all liquid oxygen manufactured in India will be used for medical purposes.