Three-layered mask advisable for all public in high COVID-19 transmission areas, says WHO

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Published: June 7, 2020 1:05 PM

While the government has made it mandatory for all to cover mouth and nose using mask or cloth, the latest guidelines set by the World Health Organisation has changed its stance from just covering the face to using three-layered masks.

Everyone who is 65-years or older along with those with underlying conditions should also use medical masks.

While the government has made it mandatory for all to cover mouth and nose using mask or cloth, the latest guidelines set by the World Health Organisation has changed its stance from just covering the face to using three-layered masks. In a briefing, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO said that the organisation has recently updated its guidelines and is recommending usage of three-layered masks (if not clinical) in the areas where community transmission is prevalent to control Coronavirus.

According to Dr Ghebreyesus, WHO has advised all the staff in a health facility, even if not directly coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, should wear a clinical mask. He further advised everyone who is 65-years or older along with those with underlying conditions should also use medical masks, especially in a place where physical distancing is a problem.

For the general public, WHO is recommending all governments to encourage the general public in an area with community transmission of Coronavirus to use a three-layer fabric mask. WHO’s director-general explained that these masks should be made of a cotton layer which is close to the mouth. Then it should have a layer of polypropylene. The outermost layer of the mask should be made of synthetic as it is fluid-resistant, he said.

Having said this, WHO reiterated “masks are not a replacement for physical distancing and other hygienic practises including hand hygiene.” It is to note that if hand hygiene is not maintained, one can potentially infect himself by touching the masks. The organization’s advisory also informs people of how to discard or reuse a mask.

Meanwhile, 6.66 million cases of Coronavirus have been reported across the world and unfortunately 392,802 have died because of it. India too has been affected badly despite a nationwide two-month lockdown with cases soaring above 2 lakh.

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