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BHOPAL: India's COVID-19 case load increased to over 78 lakh, while the number of recoveries surged past 70 lakh on Friday.

In Madhya Pradesh, the cases increased to 1,65,294 after 953 persons tested positive for the disease, while 13 deaths took the toll to 2,855, a health official said.

A total of 1,325 patients were discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours, taking the state's overall recovery count to 1,50,678.

Looking at the continous surge in the cases, people have become more conscious of hygeine amid pandemic. Most of the shoppers Free Press talked to say that they make it a point to wear masks when visiting markets and they prefer to visit shops where the shopkeepers are wearing masks. Some of them even said that they shun shops if they find that the salespersons or the shop owner are not wearing the protective shield.

"I am 71. So, I have a higher chance of catching the infection. I have been wearing a facemask since the lockdown, especially when I go for shopping to markets or even visit the neighbourhood Kirana shop. And I prefer to buy things from shops where corona-protection norms are being followed strictly and especially the shopkeepers are wearing face masks. If I find that that it is not so, I skip the shop. There is still no vaccine for the disease. So, if we follow all the norms, especially wearing a face mask, we can save ourselves and also others."- C L Sen, ex-serviceman

"I always wear a face mask especially when I step out from home because our safety is in our hands. ‘Do gazz doori mask hai jaroori…’. If we talk about the shopkeepers, they have to man their establishments for the whole day. So, they may feel suffocated wearing them for a long duration. But we prefer to shop from the shops where the staff is wearing face masks."- Apoorva, teacher

"I always wear a face mask. And I also expect that all staffers of the shops from which I am buying articles must also wear face masks. And it should be compulsory for the shopkeepers, too. After all, it is a matter of our safety. If the shopkeepers whom we know are not wearing face masks, we just tell them to wear it and then give the articles."- Dharmendra, sales manager

"I always take care of my safety especially when I go shopping. I wish that all the corona-protection norms should be followed at the shop where we are buying articles. At least shopkeepers / staff should wear face masks. Even a small lapse can land us in trouble."- Aarti Meena, student

"We always wear face masks when we step out of home. But sometimes it does not always happen that the shopkeepers from where we have to buy articles are wearing face masks. But we make sure that we buy the articles from the shop where those dealing with us are at least wearing face masks."- Sangeeta Dixit, homemaker

"Facemask is, in fact, the vaccine for Covid-19. Till an injectable vaccine is developed, we should treat masks like vaccines. Preferably, wear a three-layered mask and ensure that it covers your mouth and your nose completely. Only then we can ensure that when we talk or cough or sneeze, the droplets of our saliva don’t get airborne and reach other persons. Similarly, we are protected from getting infected from other persons. Wearing it is a must."- Rajesh Gupta, SDM

"Mask is like a barrier that protects us from others and others from us. And this would remain true for many more months now till we don’t see the last of the cases of Covid-19. Besides this disease, masks also protect us from allergens and from other respiratory diseases. Please do wear a mask whenever you visit a public place. It is for your own good and for the good of the people around you."- Dr Lokendra Dave, head, Pulmonary Department, Gandhi Medical College

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Free Press Journal