The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its updated guidance has advised governments that they should ask people to wear fabric face maks in public places to avoid that the spread of the coronavirus.
Here are some details of the WHO's new advisory to the governments:
Why the change
The WHO has said that there is still no high quality or direct scientific evidence, which proves that widespread use of facemasks or face covering by the general public is beneficial when it comes to curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
WHO also said that growing observational evidence from various countries, which had made wearing mask mandatory in public places as well as the difficulty of social distancing in many settings, is enough for WHO to change its advice.
When should one wear a mask?
The WHO recommends the wearing of non-medical masks by:
- All people who are going to be present in a public setting such as school, colleges, universities, offices, stores, markets, parks and places. People attending a social or mass gathering are strongly advised to wear masks.
- People who are living in cramped conditions such as slums, refugee camps or disaster relief camps.
- Everyone who is availing public transport.
What kind of mask should one wear?
The WHO has said to avoid a shortage of medical masks for healthcare professionals, who are fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone else should start using non-medical masks that are also called fabric masks. The WHO has also specified which types of mask to wear.
- Masks made of materials that are able to catch droplets but still remain easy to breathe through.
- Masks made of materials that cannot be stretched. Stretching increases the pore size of each mask and may render the mask ineffective against the coronavirus.
- Masks made of fabric that can be washed at 60-degree celsius or higher.
- All masks should have a minimum of three layers. An inner absorbent layer, a layer touching the mouth and an outer layer, which does not allow water to be absorbed easily.
- WHO advises all to wash masks regularly at high temperatures and multiple people should not a be sharing one mask.