Karnataka Govt. clarifies: Windows up, lone driver, then no need for mask
Coronavirus Update, COVID-19, News

Karnataka Govt. clarifies: Windows up, lone driver, then no need for mask

December 10, 2020

Bengaluru: Travelling alone in car with all windows up? Then you need not wear mask. This clarification from the State Government has come as a big relief in the wake of on-the-spot fine being imposed by Police.

In a press release, Jawaid Akthar, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Bengaluru stated, “While driving the car alone with all the windows closed, there is no need to wear mask. However, while windows are open, wearing of mask is mandatory.”

With a view to clearing the air, the Government of Karnataka has made the following regulations further to amend the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Regulation, 2020.

Meanwhile, the amendment also states that if there is a co-passenger, even if they are a family member, everyone present inside the vehicle irrespective of whether the windows are open or closed, have to wear a mask.

Which car windows to keep open to reduce COVID-19 risk?

It is already known that keeping all windows open in a moving car would offer the best protection from air-borne transmission of pathogens, especially when travelling with unknown passengers and that keeping all four shut would carry the highest risk, even with air-conditioning. 

Now the University of Massachusetts-Amherst along with Brown University, USA, after conducting a  study on which combination of open windows in cars generates the best “air change rate” to reduce COVID-19 among passengers has concluded that if you are driving in a car with a co-passenger or a taxi driver with you in the back left side seat, then the best combination is to either have all windows open or keep your window closed and the rest open. In case you want to keep your windows open, then ask the driver to close his and open all other windows.

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Air change rate is the number of air changes per hour inside the car which helps reduce the overall concentration of aerosols. But the air change rate alone is not the important factor, but the air flow directions are also important, said the report.

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