The Centre has written to all states and union territories warning against the use of N-95 face masks with valved respirators saying they don't prevent coronavirus transmission. Calling these masks "detrimental", the government has sought measures to contain the coronavirus spread.
The letter written by the Director-General of Health Services (DGHS) in the Health Ministry to the principal secretaries of health and medical education of states and UTs states that a widespread "inappropriate use" of N-95 masks was being observed, particularly those having valved respirators, by public other than designated healthcare workers.
The DGHS has also referred to its advisory of using homemade protective coverings for face and mouth on the health ministry website. "It is to bring your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N-95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it does not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask. In view of the above, I request you to instruct all concerned to follow the use of face/ mouth cover and prevent inappropriate use of N-95 masks," the letter states.
According to the government advisory on the use of homemade protective cover issued in April, the government had asked people to wear the face and mouth cover in public places. The advisory also stressed on their regular washing and cleaning in boiling water and stated that any used cotton cloth can be used for the purpose. "Never share the face cover with anyone. Every member in a family should have separate face cover," it adds.