Healthcare news

World Health Organisation: Wear a face mask

The WHO says "masks alone will not protect you from Covid-19, they are not a replacement for hand hygiene and social distancing"

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has updated its guidance on wearing masks in public to help limit the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking during a virtual briefing this afternoon, WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said governments should encourage people to wear masks in shops, on public transport, and areas where social distancing is not possible.

He said people aged 60 and over, or those with underlying health issues, should wear medical masks in situations where social distancing was not possible.

But he added: "Masks alone will not protect you from Covid-19, they are not a replacement for hand hygiene and social distancing."

The WHO previously stressed there was no evidence that wearing a mask - whether medical or other types - by healthy persons in the wider community could prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead, said the organisation's updated guidance on face masks was based on "new, novel research that we didn't have a month ago".

She said people could source fabric materials at home to make a mask.

The British government has made the wearing of face coverings on public transport mandatory from June 15.

Read more: Face masks on public transport 'a good idea but no substitute for social distancing and hand hygiene', says Arlene Foster

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