Even with Covid-19 vaccine, masks are here to stay, says chief of India's health research body

The number of Covid-19 cases in India has reached 9,392,919 on Nov 29, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (XINHUA) - The head of India's top health research body has said that health protocols to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will stay for a long time and people will have to keep wearing masks even after a vaccine is available.

"(The mask) works like a vaccine. So it may have to be used for a long time," Professor Balram Bhargava from the Indian Council of Medical Research said during a webinar titled "Changing paradigms in Covid-19 management" at Lucknow's King George Medical University on Saturday (Nov 28).

He said that masks play an important role in keeping people safe especially those who have recovered from the infection.

"Mask is like a fabric vaccine. We cannot ignore the contribution made by masks in stopping the spread of Covid-19," he said.

"We are working on vaccines, five candidates are undergoing trial in India. Out of these, two are being developed by India while three are from abroad. But vaccines won't be enough to end Covid-19. We will have to keep following health and safety protocols."

India is still in the grip of Covid-19 pandemic.

On Sunday morning, the federal health ministry said the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has reached 9,392,919 and the death toll has risen to 136,696.

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