‘Consider face masks like Covid-19 vaccine,’ says Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain on Friday encouraged people to wear masks and said everyone should consider them as a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). With the festive season approaching and the number of coronavirus disease cases in the national capital soaring this week, he urged Delhiites to take all steps necessary to bring down the infections and deaths.
Benefits of wearing a face mask were at par, if not better than, those of a lockdown, he said. “When we had imposed the lockdown, cases did not go down. If 100 per cent of people wear masks, Covid-19 infection can be controlled to a certain extent. Benefits of wearing masks are just as many as those of a lockdown, if not more. Until there is a vaccine, masks should be considered as vaccines,” he told news agency ANI.
Amid concerns of rising air pollution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), he said that wearing masks would also help protect people from air pollution. The central government on Thursday set up a new umbrella agency to fight air pollution in the region, scrapping the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA). In another attempt to address these concerns, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal launched the Green Delhi mobile app, which enables users to register complaints about violation of anti-pollution norms, in the Capital.
Jain also commented on the availability of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients. “Around 35 per cent of our beds are currently occupied. We wanted to increase the number of beds but the High Court did not allow it. We have asked for 80 per cent of beds in private hospitals to be reserved for Covid-19 patients. That matter is being discussed in court,” he said.
Active Covid-19 cases in the country stood at 594,386 on Friday while the infection tally soared to 8,088,851, according to the Union health ministry dashboard. Meanwhile, as many as 3,75,753, cases, including 30,952 active cases and 6,423 deaths, have been recorded in Delhi.
(with ANI inputs)