MP promotes mask banks to contain Covid-19; survey says 28% people wear masks only to dodge police
The coronavirus cases in Madhya Pradesh have seen a rapid rise since the Unlock phase began in mid June.Updated: Aug 05, 2020, 21:35 IST
The Madhya Pradesh government is promoting mask banks to motivate people under ‘one mask- several lives’ campaign, launched to control spread of coronavirus in the state in view of the state’s decision to not impose any further lockdown restrictions except on Sundays and during the night hours.
The decision comes a few days after an online survey covering more than 1,000 people in 70 cities and towns of the state found that 44% people found wearing a mask inconvenient while 28% of the respondents wore masks only due to fear of police personnel.
State officials say people’s failure to religiously follow the safety norms is one of the main reasons behind the spread of the virus in the state.
Under the ‘ek mask- anek jindagi’ campaign, a part of Kill Corona drive part II, launched for a fortnight from August 1, as many as 1.30 lakh masks were donated by social organisations, public representatives and other people, out of which 1.15 lakh masks have been distributed. All the civic bodies are supposed to run these banks to encourage people to wear masks.
Urban administration and development minister, Bhupendra Singh, said, “As many as 413 mask banks have been established so far across the state with support of non-government organisations, public representatives and other people.”
The focus on encouraging use of masks by the public as a containment tool can be seen in the context of the findings of the online survey conducted by Public Relations Society consisting of former professors from several journalism universities and heads of departments. According to the report, as many as 54% of the respondents said they wore masks to protect themselves from infection while 8% of them said they did it to protect others.
“The survey suggested that 9% respondents did not wear face masks, while 28% said they wore face masks only on seeing police personnel. Those not wearing face masks gave two reasons- First, they didn’t step out of their houses, hence they didn’t need it and second, they were strong and therefore nothing would happen to them. A small percentage said face masks were expensive to use,” said Pushpendra Pal Singh, the founder member of the organization.
Singh said while the survey suggested there was massive awareness among people on masks, but still there were people who didn’t wear it at all, and some others, who didn’t wear it regularly or properly. Hence, those ignoring the requirement were not only putting themselves at risk of contracting the virus but also others. The survey, conducted among the youth, also found out that 71% of college-going youth had worn face masks every time while going out in the last seven days, while 16% had worn it occasionally and the remaining wore it rarely.
As per the health department’s bulletin released on Wednesday evening, the state has registered 35,734 Covid-19 patients so far with 652 new patients identified in the past 24 hours. A total of 929 patients have died so far.
When the unlock period began in the state on June 16, the state had 10,935 patients and 465 casualties, registered in roughly three months since March 20. However, the cases have more than doubled by 24,799 since June 16. Similarly, the unlock period has seen 464 deaths, almost equal the number reported in the first three months.