Over 50 million Indians do not have access to effective hand-washing due to which they are at a high risk of contracting and transmitting the novel coronavirus, according to a study.
According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, more than 50 million people each in China, Bangladesh,Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo were also estimated to be without handwashing access.
“Handwashing is a key component of guidance to reduce transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior systematic reviews have indicated the effectiveness of handwashing to reduce transmission of respiratory viruses,” the study said.
“In low-income countries, reduction of transmission is of paramount importance, but social distancing is challenged by high population densities and access to handwashing facilities with soap and water is limited,” it added.
“Because limited access to handwashing facilities may promote the spread and magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in low-income countries, governments and aid agencies may prioritize rapid deployment of access or alternatives such as alcohol-containing handrub solutions to those locations without access,” the study said.
The study found that in 46 countries, more than half of people lacked access to soap and clean water.
However, the study does not estimate access to handwashing facilities in non-household settings such as schools, workplaces, health care facilities, and other public locations such as markets.