Indian govt alarmed over declining mask usage in country, asks people to follow Covid rules

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 10, 2021, 07:54 PM(IST)

A healthcare worker collects a nasal sample of a passenger for COVID-19 test Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

The ministry of health said that 25 cases of Omicron variant have been detected so far in India

The government on Friday sounded alarm over declining mask usage in India and urged the people to maintain Covid-appropriate behaviour amid concerns over the rapid spread of Omicron Covid strain in the country.

The ministry of health warning comes as 25 cases of Omicron variant have been detected so far in India.

Referring to an assessment by the Institute of Health Metrics, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul at a press conference said the usage of masks in the country has declined to pre-second wave levels and “in a way we have again entered a danger zone”.

The use of masks is declining, he said, adding, “from the point of view of protection capability, we are now operating at a low level...At a risky and unacceptable level”.

"We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important," Paul said while emphasising that people must learn from the global situation.

Also read | Omicron variant proof that Covid pandemic is just starting, warns UK scientist

“WHO is warning against the decline in mask usage. Global scene of Omicron is disturbing... We are now operating at a risky and unacceptable level. We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important,” Paul said.

The government on Friday said 25 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India so far and that mild symptoms have been noted in all the cases.

The government said the treatment protocol for the Omicron variant remained the same.

Also read | Omicron may cause third wave in India by February, scientist warns

Clinically, Omicron is not posing a burden on the healthcare system yet, but vigil has to be maintained, the government said.

Since November 25, the health minister has been conducting daily review meetings on various aspects of preparedness against COVID-19, including the new 'variant of concern', Omicron, joint secretary in the Union Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal, said.

The health ministry said the overall positivity rate in the country was at 0.73 per cent in last week. Less than 10,000 cases have been reported in the in last 14 days.

Active cases are highest in two states — Kerala and Maharashtra with over 43 per cent active cases in the former and over 10 per cent in the latter, Agarwal said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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