Most people ignoring plea to wear mask in Kathmandu


Even as the coronavirus cases continue to surge in Kathmandu, people in the capital city are found roaming around without wearing masks.

People without masks dominate vegetable markers, public transportation and government offices.

People have been neglecting frequent requests by the Ministry of Health and Population and health experts to wear masks.

“Wearing masks will protect us from the infection and help to prevent its spread,” said Anup Bastola, consultant tropical medicine at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku.

According to World Health Organisation, COVID-19 virus is primarily transmitted via respiratory droplets.

Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in close contact with an infected person. Coughing and sneezing release respiratory droplets in the air through.

They can enter the body through mouth, nose or eyes, according to Bastola.

A recent study by the Nepal Health Research Council in 23 public places of Kathmandu valley such as vegetable market, shopping malls, government and private hospitals, banks, revenue offices, temples, public transportation and hotels found that some people did not wearing masks. In the research conducted among 4,502, people 72.1 per cent wore masks while 27.1 per cent people didn’t wear masks. Total 72.66 per cent people wore masks correctly.

Incorrect use of masks included wearing them under the nose and chin.

“People should wear masks properly if they are to protect themselves from the infection.

There must be a correct and consistent use of masks.

People should cover their nose and mouth properly with a mask, should not wear a mask below the nose or leave it hanging on the throat and should not touch the front part of the mask.

They must sanitise their hands or wash them properly before putting on the mask. Paper masks should be properly disposed of.

Masks made of cloth must be washed and sun dried after use,” said Bastola.

World Health Organisation recommends that persons with any symptom suggestive of COVID-19 should wear a medical mask, self-isolate and seek medical advice at the earliest.

According to WHO, people in public settings such as grocery store, social gathering, mass gathering, closed settings including schools, churches and mosques are recommended to use non-medical mask.

People living in cramped condition and specific settings such as refugee camps, slums and public transportation are also recommended to use non-medical masks.

In settings where physical distancing can’t be achieved, and vulnerable population such as people aged 60 and above, people with underlying comorbidities such as heart diseases, diabetes, chronic lung disease, cancer, should wear medical masks.

WHO also recommends persons with any symptom suggestive of coronavirus to wear medical masks. Wearing a mask would reduce potential exposure to risk from infected persons, the health organisation said. People, regardless of whether they are using mask, or not, should avoid gatherings and crowded places, said Bastola.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 13, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.