Israelis will be required to wear face masks outdoors under new order

Henrietta Brewer
April 7, 2020

Under the new rules, masks must be worn when leaving home.

"This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity - for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing - even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms". Wearing a mask prevents them from spreading the infection to everyone around them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has once again said there is no evidence that wearing a mask protects you from contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus, but it supports the decisions of governments who recommend the practice. Yet, if you are entering the Mantralaya in Maharashtra, wearing a mask is mandatory.

Canadians are now urged to wear masks when they are in areas where social distancing is more hard, like in a grocery store or on public transit. A case study from February chronicled an asymptomatic 20-year-old Wuhan woman who infected five of her relatives without ever developing symptoms.

Canada's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Health Minister Patty Hajdu say they'd wear masks when in public in cases where they're unable to maintain physical distancing to protect others. But medical-grade masks should be strictly reserved for health care professionals, given the ongoing shortages, Tam said.

He explains that there are two important reasons for this.

"Wearing a non-medical mask in the community has not been proven to protect the person wearing it".

Diversion of mask supplies and consequent shortage of mask for health care workers.

It also advised health authorities to be clear about the objective of wearing facial masks in the event this is mandated for the community, and to communicate that the item was not protective against Covid-19.

"With this emerging information, the special advisory committee on COVID-19 has come to a consensus that wearing a non-medical mask, even if you have no symptoms, is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you in situations where physical distancing is hard to maintain, such as on public transit or maybe at a grocery store", Tam said.

Research has shown that a couple of layers of cotton, like a T-shirt, or layered paper towel, work great.

While wearing a mask protects the wearer and the community, doing so incorrectly or touching the outsides of the mask and then one's nose or mouth makes it useless. More so, cleaning and disposing the masks inappropriately defeats the whole objective.

Ensure the mask fits the face snugly, is secured with ties or ear loops, allows for breathing without restriction and includes multiple layers of fabric or paper.

Wear the mask at the right time i.e. when buying grocery, medicines etc.

Remove the mask using the appropriate technique: do not touch the front of the mask but untie it from behind.

About the author: Priyamvada Chugh is a cancer biology scientist by training, with experience in laboratories across Mumbai, Germany and the United Kingdom, over the last nine years.

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