50 % of India’s population isn’t wearing a mask: Health Ministry cites laxity

New Delhi: Even amid the prevailing surge of coronavirus cases, half of India’s population is not wearing a mask, the Union Health Ministry said on Thursday while sharing an update about country’s Covid situation. Addressing media, health secretary Luv Agarwal said that eight states in the country have more than 1 lakh active cases of Covid-19, nine states have cases between 50,000 to 1 lakh and 19 states have less than 50,000 active cases of the infection.

According to a survey conducted on facial masks, involving 2,000 respondents in 25 cities, it was revealed  of the 50 per cent people who do not wear mask, 64 per cent cover mouth but not nose, 20 per cent have it on chin and two per cent on the neck. 

Only 14 per cent people wear the mask correctly, said the survey, which covers nose, mouth, chin and with a clip on the nose.

Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Mizoram are states showing a rise in cases and rise in positivity in last three weeks, the health ministry official said.

Agarwal also informed that India has witnessed a consistent upward trend in weekly tests with the country conducting over 20 lakh cases in one day. The daily tests increased by 2.3 times in last 12 weeks, it added. 

ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava, who was also present at the briefing, said that 2,553 government and private Covid testing laboratories have been established across the country in the last 16 months.

According to the ICMR, 32,23,56,187 samples have been tested up to May 19 for Covid-19. Of these 20,55,010 samples were tested on Wednesday, which is the highest so far.

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