Coronavirus: WHO advises to wear masks in public areas

The World Health Organization changes its guidance saying masks can help stop the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus: WHO advises to wear masks in public areas

The WHO had previously said there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks

Image copyrightReuters


The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The global body said new information showed they could provide "a barrier for potentially infectious droplets".

Some countries already recommend or mandate face coverings in public.

The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks.

However, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that "in light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments".

The organisation had always advised that medical face masks should be worn by people who are sick and by those caring for them.

Globally, there have been 6.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 400,000 deaths since the outbreak began late last year, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

What is the WHO's advice?

The organisation saidits new guidance had been prompted by studies over recent weeks.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead expert on Covid-19, told Reuters news agency the recommendation was for people to wear a "fabric mask - that is, a non-medical mask".

Fabric masks should consist of "at least three layers of different material" in order to be effective, the WHO says.

However, those aged over-60 and with underlying health risks should wear medical masks in areas where there is community transmission.

At the same time, the WHO stressed that face masks were just one of a range of tools that could be used to reduce the risk of transmission - and that they should not give people a false sense of protection.

"Masks on their own will not protect you from Covid-19," Dr Tedros said.

Big shift in guidance

 

This is a big shift in the WHO's guidance on when the public should cover their faces. For months, the organisation's experts stuck to the line that masks would encourage a false sense of security and would deprive medical professionals of badly needed protective equipment.

Those arguments have not gone away but at the same time the WHO acknowledges that new evidence has emerged on the risks of transmission.

It points to recent research that people can be highly infectious in the few days before they show symptoms and that some people catch the virus but never show symptoms at all, as I reported last weekend.

So where distancing is not possible, such as on public transport and in locations as varied as shops and refugee camps, it is suggested that faces are covered with homemade masks to avoid passing on the infection.

Over 60s with underlying health conditions should go further, the WHO said, and wear medical-grade masks to give themselves better protection.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro threatened to pull the country out of the WHO unless it ceased to be a "partisan political organisation". The leader, who had initially dismissed the virus as a "little flu", has been critical of the lockdown policies recommended by the agency to tackle the spread of the disease.

Last week, US President Donald Trump said he would end ties with the WHO, saying it had failed to hold China - where the outbreak begun - to account over coronavirus.

In the UK, the government announced on Friday that hospital visitors and outpatients would be required to wear face coverings, and that hospital staff would have to wear medical masks, even if they were not in a clinical setting.

The guidance will come into force on 15 June, as more businesses open up and more pupils return to school. Also on Friday the UK became the second country to record more than 40,000 coronavirus-related deaths, after the US.

What are the latest key developments globally?

The court of appeal in New South Wales, Australia, overturned a ban on a Black Lives Matter protest, which was imposed due to coronavirus concerns. Thousands flooded the streets of Sydney to commemorate African American George Floyd, who died in US police custody.

In other news:

  • The EU commissioner for home affairs said member states should reopen their internal borders by end of June
  • Coronavirus is largely retreating in those US states that acted quickly to lock down, but is persisting and even rising sharply in states that locked down later and are already starting to ease restrictions, the Washington Post reports
  • California will allow film, television and music production to restart on 12 June if conditions allow
  • Portugal will start reopening its beaches later on Saturday

  • In Poland, gyms, swimming pools and amusement parks will reopen
  • In Austria, the Vienna Philharmonic, one of the most celebrated orchestras in the world, gave its first live performance since the lockdown

BBC

 
 

Other News

.
All entrants must be placed under medical surveillance for at least 28 days to contain COVID-19
All entrants must be placed under medical surveillance for at least 28 days to contain COVID-19
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam chairs a meeting of the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control at the Government Office, Ha Noi, October 15, 2020. Photo: VGP

Tropical low depression to hit central Vietnam October 16
Tropical low depression to hit central Vietnam October 16
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

Central provinces are braced for lashing rain again, starting October 16, as a tropical low depression is forecast to strike the central coast this evening, according to the latest weather forecast bulletin.

PM sends condolences to families of 13 dead officers and soldiers
PM sends condolences to families of 13 dead officers and soldiers
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has sent his deepest condolences to the families and relatives of officers and soldiers, who were buried by a landslide, on their way to Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant on a rescue mission in Thua Thien-Hue.

Huge efforts made to deal with natural disaster consequences
Huge efforts made to deal with natural disaster consequences
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

Over the past days, great efforts have been made to deal with consequences of torrential rains and floods in line with instructions of PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

Australian newswire highlights Vietnam’s success in fighting COVID-19 resurgence
Australian newswire highlights Vietnam’s success in fighting COVID-19 resurgence
VIETNAM & WORLDicon  16/10/2020 

The conversation.com reported that Europe could look to the success of countries like Vietnam as the continent is again in the grip of a COVID-19 resurgence.

Khanh Hoa’s former foreign affairs leader falsifies diplomatic note
Khanh Hoa’s former foreign affairs leader falsifies diplomatic note
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

While serving as director of Khanh Hoa Province's Foreign Affairs Department, Nguyen Quoc Tram directed his subordinates to issue a fake diplomatic note and a fake invitation letter invite Nguyen Thi Ngoc Thao and himself to visit the US.

Vietnamese guest workers to be brought home as contracts end
Vietnamese guest workers to be brought home as contracts end
SOCIETYicon  17/10/2020 

Authorities in Vietnam are planning to help guest workers whose contracts end to return home from overseas amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bodies of 13 rescue team members pulled from landslide rubble
Bodies of 13 rescue team members pulled from landslide rubble
SOCIETYicon  15/10/2020 

As of 7:30pm on October 15, the bodies of all 13 members of a rescue team buried by a landslide in central Thua Thien Hue province’s Phong Dien district had been retrieved.

COVID-19: Deputy PM orders serious management of people coming from abroad
COVID-19: Deputy PM orders serious management of people coming from abroad
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam on October 15 demanded serious compliance with rules on the management of people entering Vietnam so as to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Students, parents concerned about school toilets
Students, parents concerned about school toilets
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

School toilets have been a concern for students for many years. And not only students, but teachers and cleaners are also complaining.

Vietnam among top countries of sex ratio imbalance at birth
Vietnam among top countries of sex ratio imbalance at birth
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

As Vietnam is listed among three countries with the highest rate of sex ratio imbalance at birth, local authorities are making efforts to raise public awareness and tighten regulations to shorten the gap.

Landslide disaster: Rescue workers search for 17 in debris in central Vietnam
Landslide disaster: Rescue workers search for 17 in debris in central Vietnam
SOCIETYicon  15/10/2020 

Rescue forces have been urgently searching for the 17 missing victims of the landslide that has hit the Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant in Phong Dien district, Thua Thien Hue province, central Vietnam.

Pandemic makes returning to Vietnam to study tough for Vietnamese in Cambodia
Pandemic makes returning to Vietnam to study tough for Vietnamese in Cambodia
SOCIETYicon  15/10/2020 

Phan Thi Thuy Trang, wants to go back to school as soon as she gets out of quarantine camp.

Investigation launched over vaccine shots after two deaths
Investigation launched over vaccine shots after two deaths
SOCIETYicon  15/10/2020 

The National Expanded Programme on Immunisation Office will work with local authorities to investigate the causes of the deaths of two infants following vaccine shots in Vinh Phuc and Son La provinces.

VIETNAM NEWS OCTOBER 16
VIETNAM NEWS OCTOBER 16
SOCIETYicon  16/10/2020 

NA Standing Committee’s 49th meeting wraps up

Hue hit by prolonged period of heavy rain
Hue hit by prolonged period of heavy rain
SOCIETYicon  14/10/2020 

Heavy downpours lasting for several days have inundated many areas throughout the city of Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, leaving many places submerged and thousands of homes flooded, with four people dead and one missing.

Military forces intensifies rescue operations at Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant
Military forces intensifies rescue operations at Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant
SOCIETYicon  14/10/2020 

Rescue forces made up of military personnel, medics, and members of the police have urgently joined rescue efforts to look for the missing victims of a landslide which hit Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant in the central province of Thua Thien Hue.

Northeastern localities brace for impact of typhoon Nangka
Northeastern localities brace for impact of typhoon Nangka
SOCIETYicon  14/10/2020 

Typhoon Nangka has seen heavy rain and strong winds hit northern coastal localities such as Quang Ninh, and Hai Phong, in addition to other northeastern provinces, with Quang Ninh banning fishing vessels from going out to the sea.

19 more victims at Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant hospitalised
19 more victims at Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant hospitalised
SOCIETYicon  14/10/2020 

Rescuers managed to bring 19 victims, including one fatality, from the Rao Trang 4 hydropower plant in Thua Thien-Hue to hospital on the afternoon of October 14, while rescue efforts continue at the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant.

Scientist with many citations excluded from list of candidates for professorship
Scientist with many citations excluded from list of candidates for professorship
SOCIETYicon  15/10/2020 

The news that Associate Prof Nguyen Thoi Trung from Ton Duc Thang University, who is among the scientists with the highest number of citations, has been excluded from the list of candidates for a professorship title has surprised many observers.

 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN