Geneva: The World Health Organization changed its recommendations for masks during the coronavirus pandemic on Friday and said it should be worn in places where the virus spreads widely and the body is alienated.
Since the pandemic first appeared in China in December, the use of masks has been a hot topic.
WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Given the evolving evidence, WHO recommends that governments should encourage ordinary people to wear masks in places with wide spread and physical distance.”
He added that in areas where the virus is spread at the community level, “we recommend that people aged 60 or over or those with underlying diseases should wear medical masks if they are unable to physically alienate.”
However, the UN health agency emphasized that just wearing a mask “will not protect you from COVID-19”, and people with this virus should not show up in public if they can avoid it.
The World Health Organization maintains its recommendation that patients with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home, and if they or their contacts are absolutely needed to leave the house, they should wear medical masks.
As before, people caring for infected persons at home should wear medical masks in the same room; and health workers should wear medical masks and protective equipment when contacting suspicious or diagnosed COVID-19 patients.
However, in the latest situation affecting medical staff, the World Health Organization now recommends that in areas where the virus spreads widely, all people working in the clinical departments of medical institutions should wear medical masks, not just to deal with COVID-19 patient.
WHO has also released new guidelines for the composition of non-medical fabric masks for the public, recommending that they should be composed of at least three layers of different materials.
The inner layer should be made of water-absorbing materials (such as cotton), the middle layer (used as a filter) should be made of materials such as non-woven polypropylene, and the outer layer should be made of waterproof materials (such as polyester).
Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergency director, emphasized that wearing a mask is mainly to prevent the wearer from infecting others, not to protect themselves.
He said: “This is a selfless act.”
Tedros emphasized that masks are only part of an effective strategy to suppress viruses-people should not be tempted to have a false sense of security.
He said they cannot replace physical alienation and hand hygiene.
“Find, isolate, test and take care of every situation, and track and isolate every contact. This is what we know. This is the best defense for COVID-19 in every country.”
According to statistics compiled by AFP, this new coronavirus has infected at least 6.7 million people and killed more than 390,000 people since China’s first outbreak of bird flu last December.