WHO changed its guidelines on Friday over the use of face masks saying that face masks must be worn by everyone at public places to stop the spread of COVID-19. As the cases have risen to 6.7 million with a death toll nearing 4,00,000, in such case the wearing of the mask has been made compulsory by WHO.
WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “WHO has developed this guidance through a careful review of all available evidence, and extensive consultation with international experts and civil society groups.” The new guidelines are now totally different from the previous ones. As in previous guidelines, it was not made mandatory for healthy people to wear masks based on the evidence available then. Also, the previous guidelines issued that medical masks must be used only by the ones who are sick or the ones carrying the sick.
However, in newly revised guidelines:
- It suggests everyone should wear fabric masks (non-medical) in public.
- Fabric masks should contain at least three layers of different materials.
- Any person showing the symptoms of COVID-19 should wear a medical mask apart from self-isolating and seeking medical advice as soon as they feel unwell.
- The governments must encourage the public to wear masks, especially in crowded areas.
- In areas with the widespread transmission, WHO advises medical masks (surgical or procedure masks that are flat or pleated) for all people working in clinical areas of a health facility and not just workers dealing with patients with COVID-19.
- The guidelines also say that non-medical masks must be changed if wet or soiled because if not changed when soiled or wet, potential headache or breathing difficulties and a false sense of security may take place.
In India, the guidelines for wearing a mask:
As per the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, wearing masks is compulsory for those entering religious places, restaurants, offices and shopping malls, and any other public place.
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