Chinese girls wear protective masks in Beijing on January 23, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

Mask may become mandatory in K-P

K-P health minister says govt to decide on preventive measures within a week

APP April 28, 2020
PESHAWAR: The provincial government is mulling a plan to make the wearing of masks as mandatory for people, especially when out in public, within a week to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the province.

This was stated by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Health Taimur Saleem Jhagra in a statement on Monday. He said that the country will have to deal with Covid-19 for a year or more year, and therefore the tough decision will have to be taken.

Jhagra said that the government was considering various mandatory precautionary measures to be adopted by the public among which initially wearing of the mask will be made mandatory.

The minister said that so far, the government has been ensuring the implementation of preventive measures and was dealing with coronavirus patients to save lives, however, from now on it would be focused on implementing precautionary measures against the contagion.

The government will take measures to educate and sensitise the public for a week or more and convince them to wear masks while stepping outside of their homes, especially when going to markets, bazaars and public places.

The sensitisation will be followed by a phase in which the government will begin enforcement of its orders, adding that subsequently the masks will be made mandatory for everyone.

The minister said if people wanted markets and other businesses to re-open, they will have to cooperate with the government on implementing precautionary measures.

Jhagra said that wearing of masks by people was strictly implemented in countries that have successfully curbed the virus.

"We must learn from the experiences of others who have succeeded in stemming the virus from their countries," he added.

The minister said a mask could be made up of a piece of any clean fabric and there was no need to purchase surgical or medical masks from the markets. Wear a mask not to just protect one person but also protect others from contracting the virus.

"We have been studying research on this and are now ready to recommend this to everyone to wear a mask in public," he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2020.