Despite warning issued by the Union health ministry against the use of N95 masks with valves, their use, sale and manufacturing goes on unabated in Punjab.
While the residents continue to use the masks unaware of the warning, the manufacturers and traders rue that the sales had already gone down as a large number of residents do not change the mask after purchasing it for once. The manufacturers further demanded that the government should allow export of N95 masks with valves, which has a demand in the internal market.
The director general of health services in the Union ministry of health, in a letter to the principal secretaries of health and medical education of states, had said on Tuesday that it has been observed that there is “inappropriate use” of N-95 masks, particularly those with valved respirators by the public other than designated health workers.
President of Punjab Chemists’ Association Surinder Duggal said: “We have asked our association members to make the people aware about the government’s new guidelines that warn the usage of N95 masks. But some people are still adamant on purchasing masks with valves.”
VENDING MACHINE AT CHANDIGARH RAILWAY STATION
The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDCL) has installed an automatic vending machine for dispensing 3-ply masks, N95 masks, sanitisers and gloves at the Chandigarh railway station last week.
An official said that the corporation has observed an average sale of Rs 5,000-6,000 in last few days and the highest of nearly Rs 8,000 sale from the vending machine.
On being asked about any plans to discontinue N-95 masks with valves after recent guidelines by the health ministry, Balbir Singh, CGM, IRSDCL, Chandigarh, said: “I am aware of the advisory, but we’re yet to receive any official notification on the same. Once we receive it, we may discontinue the N95 masks.”