Supermarket Association President Rajiv Diptee.

President of the Supermarket Association Rajiv Diptee is urging shoppers to wear their masks properly while at supermarkets and groceries.

He said yesterday there has been a level of non-compliance among shoppers despite the worrying COVID-19 spread taking place across the country and the number of deaths.

Yesterday Diptee told Guardian Media many shoppers aren’t properly wearing masks or social distancing.

“There’s only about 50 per cent compliance with health protocols among shoppers, very disconcerting considering the (virus) wave. Some aren’t wearing masks properly. They have it under the nose, only across the mouth or around the chin.

“Masks are a big preventative measure and must be worn covering the nose and mouth and tucked under the chin. Also key is CDC’s warning on how contagious the virus is in a six-foot radius. Therefore the social distancing standard must be six feet to keep the virus away from you,” said Diptee.

He was referring to the latest information issued by the CDC – Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US – which stated last Friday that COVID-19 transmission occurs by inhaling very fine respiratory droplets and aerosolized particles as well as through contact with sprayed droplets or touching contaminated hands to one’s mouth, nose or eyes. The CDC stated the virus can be inhaled even when one is more than six feet away from an infected person.

It was stated the new information has significant implications for indoor environments and workplaces. One expert warned that in poorly ventilated environments, the virus will build up and everyone in the room will be exposed.

Diptee reiterated that sometimes when staffers ask shoppers to abide by the health protocols, they are verbally abused.

He said he hopes the CDC’s warning will help people understand the contagion danger.

Earlier yesterday when he spoke on TTT, Diptee noted some supermarkets found themselves in a situation where even some employees who have been lax tested COVID-positive. He noted there have been merchandisers, sales representatives and other frontlines who have died as a result of the virus.

Diptee said compliance occurred more widely last year since COVID was a new, invisible phenomenon.

”We know people are COVID fatigued and fed up. Even though we have markers on floors, wall signs and loudspeakers announcing guidelines, only in half of the instances do people follow them. Let’s help each other – please,” pleaded Diptee.

SATT looks to new powdered virus drug

Meanwhile, SATT was recently seeking a licence to bring in vaccines. So far Government has requested the supplier’s name, the approved type of vaccines and the import agent.

But international demand for vaccines due to the COVID-19 “waves” in India and elsewhere delayed SATT ‘s hunt.

Yesterday Diptee said the SATT is now looking to a powdered oral solution. It was reported last weekend that India’s Drugs Controller General approved the powdered drug for emergency use.

It’s made by India’s Defence and Research and Development Organisation.

The NDTV site stated it was cleared after clinical trials showed that a molecule in the drug aids faster recovery of hospitalized patients and reduces oxygen dependence. It comes in a sachet and is dissolved in water for oral intake.

Diptee added, “It’s very interesting and can be distributed in large numbers. It’s been granted emergency licence approval for India due to their crisis. I feel it holds great potential in T&T. We want to examine this supply source. It may not require a vaccine license per se. If so we’ll examine it,”

Diptee also said the SATT understood how people felt about food prices – which rose by seven per cent- and was doing all it could including to keep employees’ jobs.