Although WHO recommends that face masks should primarily be worn by health care staff, Dr. Mike Ryan is positive towards a more widespread use of home made mask or similar ways of covering the mouth would be a means of reducing contamination.
“We must preserve medical surgical respirator masks for our frontline workers. But the idea of using respiratory coverings or mouth coverings to prevent coughing or sneezing projecting disease into the environment and towards others ... that in itself is not a bad idea,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, told a news conference on 3 April.
Ryan acknowledged a “very important and healthy debate” on the wearing of masks. He said that if used, they should be part of a comprehensive strategy and would not negate the need for handwashing and social distancing.
“So we can certainly see circumstances in which the use of masks, both homemade or cloth masks, at community level may help in an overall comprehensive response to this disease,” he said (go to full article)
This statement goes hand in hand with the recent development in many countries, where the use of face coverings is either heavily recommended or even made compulsory when people are out in the public. Currently it’s being heavily debated around the world whether wearing a face mask will stem the spread of Covid-19. The WHO says countries must weigh the risks and benefits when it comes to advising the whole population about wearing face coverings.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control agrees that medical face masks should be prioritised for healthcare workers. But it says non-surgical face masks might help stop the spread of coronavirus by people who are contagious but have no symptoms (known as asymptomatic transmission) Further in the light of this, many airline companies have now made the use of face mask compulsory during flights.
Below are some of the European countries that have made the civil use of face masks compulsory
In the US and UK, discussions are going on whether or not the use of masks should be mandatory, however, the tendency is that the use of some sort of face protection is recommended.
As for the recommendations to civil used face masks, The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says cloth face coverings should:
The Carefix Barrier Mask for civil use fulfils these requirements, but is recommended over a home made face cover
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