Now, masks will be available at Ponlait milk outlets for ₹1 each and 50 ml sanitiser bottles for as little as ₹10 as part of efforts by the administration to make the two most important measures for preventing COVID-19 affordable to a larg section of society.
Launching the programme at Raj Nivas, Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan singled out the wearing of masks as the most crucial component of COVID-19 prevention.
“While we can scale up stocks of medicines and tests or ramp up bed capacity, the simplest way to contain the pandemic remains compliance with masking norms. This is why a supply chain for delivering masks and sanitisers at prices that are much lower than the market rates is being rolled out,” the Lt. Governor said.
“At this stage of the pandemic and given the steps being taken to provide cheap protective wear, not wearing a mask is tantamount to an anti-social act,” she said. “Just like locking the house to prevent theft, you should wear a mask to prevent coronavirus,” she added.
She also urged the public, especially the youth, to become ambassadors to raise awareness about vaccines and masks. These affordable masks and sanitiser bottles are available for immediate sale through the 70 Ponlait outlets in Puducherry.
About four lakh masks would be bought and sold by the Health Department at subsidised rates, said T. Sudhakar, Managing Director, Ponlait.
Earlier, inaugurating a vaccination campaign at the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), the Lt. Governor emphasised that even a day’s delay in getting the vaccine would mean delaying antibody formation in the body.
She urged the beneficiaries not to hesitate in getting vaccinated.
According to the Lt. Governor, the vaccination programme was being implemented in a coordinated manner in association with private medical colleges and hospitals under a public-private partnership.
Pointing to the adequate availability of vaccines in Puducherry even amid reports of shortage elsewhere, she hoped that once the vaccination opens up for everyone above 18 years, the Union territory would become the first in the country to achieve cent percent coverage of its population.
Health Secretary T. Arun, S. Mohan Kumar, Director of Health and Advisers to Lt Governor C. Chandramouli and A.P. Maheshwari and officials of the hospital were among those who participated.