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Continue Wearing Mask In Crowded Places, Especially People In Vulnerable Category: Experts

Doctors at Delhi’s leading government and private hospitals concurred that people should exercise “extra caution” because though cases in Delhi are on the lower side, a new variant of COVID-19 is being reported which is very transmissible

Continue Wearing Mask In Crowded Places, Especially People In Vulnerable Category: Experts
The Delhi government has withdrawn the Rs 500 fine for not wearing a face mask in public places

New Delhi: People should continue to wear masks in crowded areas, especially those in the vulnerable category like pregnant women and the elderly, experts said on Thursday (October 20), hours after the Delhi government withdrew the Rs 500 fine for not wearing it in public places. Doctors at the city’s leading government and private hospitals concurred that people should exercise “extra caution” because though cases in Delhi are on the lower side, a new variant of COVID-19 is being reported which is very transmissible.

Also Read: Some Countries May See Another Wave Of COVID-19 Infection Due To XBB Subvariant, Says WHO Chief Scientist

Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine, Apollo Hospital, said,

It is a festive season and people will ge together, socialise at workplace and at homes. Though the fine for not wearing mask has been lifted, I would still say that people should wear it in open and crowded places, during meetings in enclosed rooms, if not at homes. More than laws, we need self-discipline, as we have all learned a lot in these two years.

The doctor said air quality in Delhi has dropped and so a mask can protect from various other kinds of pollution-related infection too.

The Delhi government on Thursday issued an order withdrawing the Rs 500 fine for not wearing masks in public places in the national capital.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in a meeting last month had decided to stop levying the penalty after September 30 amid a decline in COVID-19 cases.

The authority in its meeting on September 22 noted that the positivity rate of the COVID-19 infection has come down substantially and majority of the population has been vaccinated.

Delhi recorded 107 fresh COVID-19 cases with a positivity rate of 1.64 per cent on Wednesday, according to health department data. On Tuesday, the positivity rate was 2.04 per cent, 3.61 per cent on Monday, 1.59 per cent on Sunday, 2.12 per cent on Saturday and 1.75 per cent on Friday.

Also Read: Only Green Crackers Will Be Allowed In Haryana On Diwali: Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar

The number of active cases now stands at 488. The number of daily cases in the city had touched a record high of 28,867 on January 13 during the third wave of the pandemic.

Dr Richa Sareen, consultant of pulmonology at Fortis Hospital said,

We have to be cautious since a new variant is being reported. People who are vulnerable to such infection such as pregnant women and the elderly should continue to wear mask in public places, fine or no fine.

“Also, we all need to be extra cautious because a new variant of COVID-19 is being reported, which is very transmissible. Though cases in Delhi are on the lower side, the fine for not wearing a mask in public places being lifted should not push us into a zone of false sense of security that ‘everything is fine’. Having said that, we should not panic either,” she said.

Dr Chatterjee at Apollo Hospital said a person not wearing a mask is also at risk of contracting many other respiratory infection if standing next to a person who has any of these infections. So a mask helps, he said.

In its meeting held last month, the DDMA had emphasised on not lowering guard against Covid in view of the upcoming festivals.

Some expert had then said that the government could have waited for two months for the festive season to end, while others had said people should voluntarily be allowed to discipline themselves.

Diwali falls on October 24, followed by Chhath festival few days later and then Christmas in December.

Also Read: WHO Chief Scientist On Banega Swasth India Telethon: Key Learnings From COVID-19 Pandemic

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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