Weeks ago, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced guidelines for mask wearing to fight against COVID-19. According to the MHA, people driving/riding alone need not wear masks. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) – the civic body of Bangalore – has come up with fresh rules, which are at odds with the Union Home Ministry’s Unlock guidelines.
According to the BBMP, wearing a mask is mandatory even if you are driving/riding alone. To be specific, even two wheeler riders riding without a pillion need to wear masks, and car drivers driving alone also need to wear masks. Failure to comply with this directive will result in a fine of Rs. 250. In fact, the BBMP is said to have ordered traffic marshals to a fine a minimum of 20 people per day for not wearing masks while driving/riding on public roads.
The face mask that covers the nose and mouth is the first line of defense against the Corona Virus (COVID-19), which transmits through aerosols in the air. Wearing a mask is said to reduce the chance of infection dramatically as the aerosols that carry the Corona Virus are usually stopped by face masks. Wearing an N95 or N99 mask is preferred. If a mask is not accessible for some reason, the minimum a person can do is to use a cloth mask or at least cover the nose and mouth with a piece of cloth.
Across India, police and civic official have been fining motorists and pedestrians for not wearing masks in public places. However, compliance continues to remain low in most parts of the country. The latest BBMP directive on mask usage is probably another measure to drive home the importance of wearing a mask by associating non compliance with a steep fine of Rs. 250.
Even masks can be dangerous….
Do remember that wearing a mask while exercising is dangerous. A mask can obstruct the free flow of air during exercise, which typically needs a higher amount of air flowing in and out of the lungs. Wearing a mask while doing strenuous activities such as running or cycling can lead to lungs collapsing – a potentially fatal condition. Given the fact that authorities in Bengaluru are fining people without masks in public places, it’s best to avoid exercise in public places for the time being.