The MP from Maharashtra's Amaravati was the first to flag the crowd factor in parliament.
The sudden panic over the spread of coronavirus knocked on the doors of parliament today as Independent member Navneet Rana turned up for the day's session sporting a mask. Pointing out that parliament is a crowded area, the actor-turned-politician called for screening of all members and subsidised masks for the people.
"Parliament is a crowded area and it is essential to wear a mask in such places," Navneet Rana told the assembled reporters.
The MP from Maharashtra's Amaravati was the first to flag the crowd factor in parliament and its possible link to the virus. Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union minister Amit Shah and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared that they would stay away from pre-Holi celebrations in view of the spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
The Prime Minister, who tweeted yesterday asking people not to panic, today posted: "Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme."
Over the last three days, the country has registered big jump in coronavirus cases, with a group pf 15 Italian tourists testing positive for the virus. The total number of affected people is now 28. Three others who contracted the virus earlier, have been cured, the doctors said.
The government said it is taking giant steps to contain the virus – a key procedure being screening all incoming passengers on international flights.
Stressing on precautionary measures, Navneet Rana said all parliamentarians should also be screened for the as "they meet many people through the day". Pointing out that just one person who contracted the virus on a tour to Italy has spread fear across the National Capital Region, she said it was essential to screen all flight passengers.
As for her mask, the Amravati MP said it took her half an hour to zero in on the right one. Even so, the mask is expensive, costing Rs 125 and it would be quite out of reach for the average pocket, she said. Under the circumstances, "the government should bring down its price," she said.
Masks are not the best way to prevent infection from coronavirus, since it is not an airborne virus.
The infection spreads through contact with respiratory droplets from the nose or mouth of an infected person. This is why the doctors have insisted on strong hygiene – frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitisers, use of tissue when coughing or sneezing and maintaining a distance of 3 feet from people with symptoms of respiratory disease.
People with no respiratory symptoms, such as cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. People with symptoms should wear a mask as a preventive measure. Not all masks help in prevention of the spread of virus. There are some masks that would work which also need proper training to put on.