ApnaMask, an initiative by EkDesh – a non-profit supported by ACT Grants announced Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna, restauranteur, writer, filmmaker and humanitarian being recruited as the 100,000th Corona Soldier. The growing army of over 100,000 ‘Corona Soldiers’ have pledged to protect the country by wearing a mask every time they step out and encourage others to do the same. Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt along with Bipasha Basu, Diana Penty, Mouni Roy and Keerthi Suresh joined “I am a Corona Soldier” movement earlier on August 15. The initiative has garnered over 100M impressions and over 30Mviews
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Chef Vikas Khanna has distributed over 31 million dry ration meals, 500,000 slippers to the needy in over 70 cities over the last five months in India. He has been committed towards providing food and fighting hunger to defeat the pandemic. Today, enrolling as a Corona Soldier and pledging to wear a mask everytime he steps out, he reiterated his commitment towards winning the battle with Corona.
Corona Soldiers, along with gallant Army veterans Lt. Col. MK Sinha (Retd), a Kargil war hero and Major Gaurav Arya (Retd) are calling upon every Indian to become Corona Soldiers by wearing a mask and help India win this war against Covid-19. The campaign plays out on its website http://www.iamacoronasoldier.com/, where people can register and become a ‘Corona Soldier’. Equipped with a simple mask, ‘Corona Soldiers’ take the responsibility of spreading the message and recruiting more ‘Corona Soldiers’ by inviting them to join the force through social media.
The campaign has been conceptualized basis the findings of a recent study by ApnaMask.org that examined the awareness of preventive guidelines among Indians as well as their motivation behind compliance. Findings revealed that while awareness on masks and practicing social distancing is at 90%, the compliance for the same is as low as 44%. Inconvenience, breathing problems and disbelief are the primary reasons for drop in compliance.