Coronavirus: WHO reviews use of masks

April 7, 2020
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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: WHO reviews use of masks

World Health Organization (WHO) is re-evaluating the use of medical and non-medical masks for COVID-19.

The agency will issue guidance and criteria to support countries in making that decision, Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
said.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we recognize that individuals and governments want to do everything they can to protect themselves and others. So do we,” he said at a virtual press conference in Geneva.

The WHO already recommends the use of medical masks by people who are sick and those who are caring for a sick person at home.

Tedros told reporters that if masks are worn, they must be used safely and properly.

Masks, he said, should be used as part of a comprehensive package of interventions, like keeping distance, cleaning hands and avoiding touching face.

The WHO head also highlighted that medical masks must be prioritized for health workers on the front lines of the response.

“We know medical masks can help to protect health workers, but they’re in short supply globally,” he said.

He added that the mass use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage.

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