GUWAHATI, May 16 - The increasing necessity of using facemasks to contain the spread of COVID-19 has opened up a lucrative business opportunity for a section of people who are selling the item, especially the handmade ones, on roadsides and in bylanes in the city.
According to a section of mask sellers, who have their entities at Silpukhuri and Ganeshguri areas, demand for masks, mainly the hand-made ones, in the market is at present very high. On average, 100 masks are sold by them in a single day since the relaxation of lockdown norms by the administration.
One handmade mask costs Rs 25-30 and most of these are stitched by the local people, especially the members from different rural self-help groups. But the growing demand for masks also becomes a challenge to contain the virus as most of these products have no proper packaging.
Reacting to the issue, city-based physician Dr Daboo Patowary said, �Using a mask with proper precaution has become a social responsibility for every person. We need a mask to contain the virus because sneezing could spread the pathogen to many people near us.�
He opined that everyone needs to wash and sanitize a mask properly before using the same. In case of a handmade mask, one should also be careful while purchasing it because wearing a mask is not a fashion anymore. Even one should sanitize his or her hands after taking off the mask, he added.
Another physician Dr Hitesh Barua stated that there is a need for proper sanitization process as part of the open selling of handmade masks and everyone should buy masks from clean places only.
�Vending of masks without proper packaging is very dangerous in such a situation. Everyone needs to wash a handmade mask properly before use. Even social distancing without having masks is useless too. We should avoid people not wearing masks in outside,� Dr Barua said.
Similarly, he also advised that wearing a mask for the whole day is not good as it could lower the oxygen level in the body.
�We need not wear a mask at home if everyone in the family is in a healthy condition. But we should keep our house clean and sanitize,� he added. Dr Abhijit Sarma also said the open sale of masks should not be allowed in such a situation.