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'Don't imagine stepping out without it': PM Modi urges 100 per cent use of masks

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New Delhi, June 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the Chief Ministers to ensure 100 per cent use of masks amid a spurt in coronavirus cases in the country.

"To even think of stepping out without a mask or face cover is not right at present. 'Do gaj ki doori', hand-washing and use of sanitisers is of utmost importance. With markets opening and people stepping out, these precautions are even more important," the prime minister said during his online conference with Chief Ministers to discuss coronavirus situation in the country.

Narendra Modi

The Prime Minister's meeting comes amid a worrying surge in the infection over the last fortnight.

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PM Modi is holding a video-conference with chief ministers, Lt governors and administrators of 21 states and Union territories today. These include Punjab, Kerala, Goa, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, the northeastern states and some UTs.

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    The prime minister will interact with chief ministers of 15 states and the LG of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday. These include high case load states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

    The two-day virtual meet comes against the backdrop of rising number of coronavirus cases in the country. These will be the sixth and seventh meetings between the Prime Minister and various chief ministers on the COVID-19 crisis.

    New studies have also revealed that face masks may be even more important than originally thought in preventing future outbreaks of the new coronavirus.

    Without a mask, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is 17.9 per cent. With face mask that drops to 3.9 per cent.

    "Our findings continued to support the idea not only that masks in general are associated with a large reduction in risk of infection from SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV but also that N95 or similar respirators might be associated with a larger degree of protection from viral infection than disposable medical masks or reusable cotton masks," noted a study by published in The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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