To wear or not to wear? That has become the key question during the pandemic as the face mask has become a symbol of our changed lives under coronavirus. Still, months after the pandemic began to spread, many people still remain unsure about whether a mask is essential to keep them safe.

  • The World Health Organization held a media briefing to update the public on the COVID-19 outbreak. Streamed live Monday, 30 March.
  • WHO officials do not recommend mask wearing for healthy members of the general population.
  • Masks should be worn by those with the disease or those in close contact with those infected.

Who should wear a mask:

Those who are sick. WHO officials recommended those infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus to wear masks to prevent spreading it to someone else.

Those who are home caregivers for those who are sick. People caring for the sick should
wear masks to protect themselves and to prevent further transmission throughout
a family unit. Mask wearing has become critical in these situations, thanks to
lockdown, said Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health
Emergencies Programme, since most of the new transmissions are happening at the
family level. “In some senses,” he said, “the transmission has been taken off
the streets and pushed back into the family unit.”

Those who are frontline healthcare workers. Right now the people most at risk
from this virus are frontline healthworkers who are exposed to the virus
“every second of every day”, Ryan also said.

Key to remember, say WHO officials, is that coronavirus is spread by droplets and not airborne transmission. “The most likely person to become a case is someone who has been in significant contact of another case,” said Ryan.

Categories: Communication

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