New Delhi: India continues to face low mask-compliance with only 2 per cent of people reporting proper compliance in their area and about 30 per cent of Indians saying those in their area refrain from carrying a mask when stepping out, according to a survey by Local Circles — a community social media platform — released Saturday.
These findings come amid concerns about the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, believed to be 500 per cent more infectious.
The survey, which received more than 25,000 responses from people in 364 districts across India, asked respondents how many people in their area are mask-compliant amid the threat of the new variant.
In response, two per cent said people in their area are complying to mask norms well while 8 per cent said that there is no compliance whatsoever. Meanwhile, 19 per cent of respondents said 0-30 per cent people in their area are mask-compliant, 32 per cent said 30-60 per cent are compliant and 39 per cent said 60-90 per cent are compliant.
The findings come amid India detecting its fourth case with the Omicron variant, when a 33-year-old from Kalyan Dombivli municipal area near Mumbai, who had arrived at the Delhi airport from South Africa via Dubai before flying to Mumbai, tested positive for the variant Saturday.
Hours earlier, a man in Gujarat who returned from Zimbabwe became the third person in India found to be infected with the Omicron variant. The first two infections were detected in Karnataka and both patients were fully vaccinated.
Earlier this week, the Union Health ministry alerted states and union territories to ramp up testing amid concern over the variant.
1 in 3 Indians don’t carry masks when stepping out
The survey also found that 1 in 3 Indians do not carry a mask when they step out of their house.
Asked to comment on whether people in their area are in the habit of carrying a mask and wearing them, 34 per cent of respondents said most people don’t carry a mask and 23 per cent said most carry a mask but don’t wear it.
Meanwhile, five per cent said most people have a mask and wear it properly and 38 per cent said most have a mask but don’t wear it properly.
2 in 3 Indians opt for cloth masks
The survey also found that 63 per cent of Indians wear cloth masks, meaning 2 in 3 Indians.
Asked to comment on what kinds of masks they see people wearing, 21 per cent of respondents said disposable masks, 8 per cent said N-95 mask and 3 per cent each said KN-95 or W-95 mask.
Major decline in mask-compliance from April
The findings show a major decline in public perceptions regarding mask-compliance.
In a survey conducted by the same platform in April, it was found that 29 per cent of Indians said mask compliance in their area is high. It fell to 12 per cent in September and then even further to 2 per cent in November.
The survey’s sample consisted of 69 per cent males and 31 per cent females. Forty-one per cent of respondents were from Tier 1 cities, 30 per cent from Tier 2 and 29 per cent from Tier 3, 4 and rural districts.