Make masks at home to overcome the shortage, government tells how

With the outbreak of COVID-19, shortage of face masks and hand sanitisers is a stark reality

Make masks at home to overcome the shortage, government tells how

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 2

The government, which recently marked a significant shift in corona' strategy by recommending the use of face masks by all, has prepared a detailed manual on using and making homemade masks.

Universal usage of homemade masks is also expected to reduce the demand for N-95 and N-99 masks, which are mainly meant for front line healthcare workers battling COVID-19. 

The guide is meant to provide a simple outline of best practices to make, use and reuse masks to enable NGOs and individuals to self-create such masks and accelerate the widespread adoption of masks across India.

"This is primarily meant for the people who want to wear the mask but do not have access to it. They can make these washable and reusable masks home” says Dr Shailja Vaidya Gupta, Senior Advisor, Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government.

The detailed manual on using and making homemade masks can be downloaded at http://bit.ly/DIYMasksCorona.

The key for proposed designs are ease of access to materials, easy of making at home, ease of use and reuse, says the Department of Science and Technology. 

With the outbreak of COVID-19, shortage of face masks and hand sanitisers is a stark reality.

While the anxious public frantically shops for hygiene products, in particularly the masks and hand sanitisers, the sudden increase of demand has met with a shortage of supply, it said. 

Shops and services are demanding that the customers use face masks.

In some shops, the patrons are denied services for not using the face mask. Many health experts are also suggesting that the use of a face mask in public spaces could reduce the spread of infection. 

Wearing of masks is especially recommended for people living in densely populated areas.

Notably, marking a major shift in strategy from existing rules on masks, government guidance on masks on Tuesday said once 80 per cent of the population wears masks outbreak of coronavirus can be stopped immediately. 

The hitherto in use Health Ministry advisory on masks followed the WHO guidance on the issue that “there is no scientific evidence to show health benefit of using masks for non-sick persons in the community."

However, according to the manual “Masks for Curbing the Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus” "analyses show if 50% of the population were to wear masks, only 50% of the population would be infected by the virus. Once 80% of the population wears a mask, the outbreak can be stopped immediately". 

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