Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Experts urge the public to use face masks. Their recommendations reflect the evaluation the latest situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus. To help stop the spread of Covid-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that masks should be worn where physical distancing is not possible and in combination with hand hygiene and thorough disinfection. WHO grounds its guidance on evolving evidence.
What types of masks are used against the spread of Covid-19?
· Medical masks (also known as surgical masks). They are intended for single use only.
· Reusable respirators (filtering facepiece respirators FFP) and available at different performance levels such as FFP2, FFP3, N95, N99
· Reusable barrier non-medical masks (also known as fabric masks)
Who should wear medical masks?
· Health workers
· People who are sick and exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 or may suspect they are infected
· Anyone taking care of a person at home who is sick with Covid-19
· People 60 years old and over or anyone with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer)
Who should wear fabric barrier masks?
Based on new evidence, WHO advises governments to encourage the use of fabric masks, which can act as a barrier to prevent the spread of the virus. Fabric masks should be worn in areas where the novel coronavirus continues to spread actively and where physical distancing of at least 1 meter is not possible – such as, confined or crowded places, on public transport, in shops.
WHO said new research has identified the following preferable types of fabrics, number of layers and the composition of a fabric mask:
· an inner layer of absorbent material such as cotton
· a middle layer of non-woven material such as polypropylene
· an outer layer of non-absorbent material, such as polyester or polyester blend