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Posted 2020-12-03 10:03:31 UTC

People in areas of high Covid transmission should wear masks in schools, at work and even at home, says latest WHO advice

People in areas of high Covid transmission should wear masks in schools, at work and even at home, says latest WHO advice

 

New World Health Organisation (WHO) advice suggests people in areas of suspected high coronavirus transmission should wear face masks in schools, at their places of work and even in their own home when guests visit.

 

The WHO advice published on Wednesday recommends the use of face coverings at home when receiving visitors if one metre distancing cannot be maintained or ventilation is poor.

 

The advice, which applies to shops, schools and shared workplaces, also states masks should be worn indoors regardless of social distancing unless ventilation has been assessed to be adequate.

 

People should also wear a mask at home when receiving visitors if they cannot maintain distancing or ventilation is poor, the WHO recommends.

 

They advise against wearing masks during excessive physical activity. Gyms and indoor exercise classes require mask wearing in reception and changing areas and even up until you are on a machine or individua exercise mat.

 

Children aged up to five should not wear masks, a “risk-based approach” should be taken for six to 11-year-olds, while those aged 12 and over should follow the same principles as adults, the guidance states.

 

The WHO said its Covid-19 Guidance Development Group (GDG) “considered all available evidence on the use of masks by the general public including effectiveness, level of certainty and other potential benefits and harms, with respect to transmission scenarios, indoor versus outdoor settings, physical distancing and ventilation”.

 

Early in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance saying masks protect wearers from contracting Covid-19.

 

 Previously, the agency said the main benefit of face coverings was to prevent those infected with the virus from spreading it to other people.

 

Specifically, health officials feared that asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people may be unaware that they are ill and transmit the disease.

 

But in the updated recommendations, the CDC stated that cloth masks act as 'source control' to block droplets from being exhaled by the wearer and also provide 'filtration for personal protection' by preventing droplets from reaching others.

 

Cloth masks with multiple layers were found to be most effective at reducing the transmission of the virus due to blocking the droplets in the air.

 

This sentiment is now echoed by the global WHO, which says: 'Masks can be used either for protection of healthy persons or to prevent onward transmission (source control).'

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