Arogya Sahayya Samiti writes to Govt about non-observance of WHO directives

Government not providing quality masks, not creating awareness about it are one of the obstacles to stop the spread of coronavirus

The State Government is appealing to citizens for using masks at the personal level to stop the spread of coronavirus. In this context, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has laid down the certain important criterion. According to it, the masks should be 3 layered and manufactured in a special method. However, large instances of using handkerchiefs, cotton cloth or the masks not having the capacity to prevent infection are being witnessed in the State. This leads to the danger of the spread of coronavirus. The Government not providing quality masks, not creating awareness about it are one of the obstacles to stop the spread of coronavirus. The Government should realise the seriousness of the matter and take firm steps to ensure the use of quality masks and follow the criterion laid down by the WHO, demanded Arogya Sahayya Samiti. A representation to this effect is sent to the Chief Ministers and Principal Secretaries of Health Departments of Maharashtra of Goa, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka States.

The representation states – As per the guiding principles issued by WHO on 5th June 2020 on the masks, the single layer, double layer masks cannot stop the infection of coronavirus. To stop the infection of coronavirus, at least 3 layers are required in ‘non-medical mask’ prepared from cloth. The outer level of the mask should be of Hydrophobic (Polypropylene, polyester or their mixture), the middle layer synthetic and non-woven material (Polypropylene or layer of cotton) and the inner layer should be of Hydrophilic material (Mixture of cotton and cloth). In the directives issued by the Government, a vague message ‘wear the handkerchief or mask’ is given. As a result, the citizens are indiscriminately using handkerchief or cotton mask. Naturally, the citizens are under the impression that they are following the instructions given by the Government and hence assured of protection; however, the spread of coronavirus is still rising.

Therefore, the Government should realise the present situation and issue the orders to the concerned departments to make a serious study of the quality of masks which are being sold and used in society. The Food and Drug Administration should ensure that the masks which are being sold in the market are of the minimum standards and take further action. Selling the masks not having required standards should be declared as an offence and the provision for punishment for such offences should be made. Similarly, re-usable masks should be made available all over the market. These demands were raised by the Arogya Sahayya Samiti.

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