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WHO Guidelines: Wearing Mask in Indoor, Outdoor Public Areas

The WHO has recently updated its guidelines on wearing a mask in public areas as well as indoors in places where there isn’t sufficient ventilation.

In an update to its COVID-19 guidance on masks. wearing a mask must be done in conjunction with other measures like hand hygiene, physical distancing, ventilation in indoor settings, testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation.

“WHO advises that the general public should wear a nonmedical mask in indoor (e.g. shops, shared workplaces, schools) or outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least one meter cannot be maintained,” the new guidance says.

“If indoors, unless ventilation has been assessed to be adequate, WHO advises that the general public should wear a nonmedical mask, regardless of whether physical distancing of at least one meter can be maintained,” it added.

Here are a few reminders from the WHO:

  •  The elderly and those with health issues should always wear a medical mask when the physical distance of at least one meter is not being maintained.
  • Caregivers of those who are suspected or confirmed to be infected should wear a mask when they are in the same room as the patient.
  •  Homemade masks should be three-ply with the outermost layer made of a material that repels water and the innermost layer made with a material that can get wet with water. The middle hydrophobic layer should be made with a material that “has been shown to enhance filtration or retain droplets.”
  •  Do not use masks with an exhalation valve.
  •  Factory-made fabric masks should have proper filtration, be breathable, and fit properly.
  •  Ensure that the mask covers the mouth and nose and minimize any gaps between the face and the mask.
  • Always perform hand hygiene
  •  Replace the mask if it becomes damp or wet.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks and dispose of them properly.
  • Do not remove your mask while talking and don’t share masks.