The News Originally Published in The Daily Star

UNDP Bangladesh has launched a social media campaign with the hashtag #MaskUpBangladesh to encourage the use of masks.

The campaign aims to raise awareness on the necessity of wearing masks, UNDP said today.

People are encouraged to upload a photo of themselves in their face mask with the hashtag to let their friends and family know that wearing a mask is the responsible thing to do during this time, it said.

As the economy has reopened and people are having to to familiarise themselves with the new normal, wearing face masks for protection from the coronavirus is of utmost importance, the UNDP said.

Wearing a mask, combined with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing, can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting Covid-19.

One unpublished study by scientists at Arizona State University found that if 80 percent people wore only moderately effective masks, it could reduce the number of deaths in New York by 17-45 percent over a two-month period, reports BBC.

Even wearing masks that were just 20 percent effective could cut mortality by 24-65 percent in Washington and 2-9 percent in New York, if enough people wore them.

"The current crisis is likely to last long and will need society-wide behavioural change. Campaigns such as this one can be very effective in bringing about change as most people like to fit in and go along with the masses. That's exactly what we're hoping to achieve through the 'MaskUp' campaign to keep people safe and healthy," said Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative of UNDP Bangladesh on the campaign.

"#MaskUpBangladesh teaches people that in this day and age, wearing a mask is the responsible way to go about life. The new normal is here, and we must adapt," he said.

Members of Parliament, US Ambassador, celebrities, cricket players, already expressed solidarity with #MaskUpBangladesh and others are expected to join.

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