Non medical fabric face masks may not meet WHO standards

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Aug 2: Some fabric or cloth face masks are unlikely to meet the criteria recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO) in preventing the transmission of Covid-19 virus.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that fabric non medical face masks sold in the market can be worn by the people when going outdoors but they may not be as effective as disposable face masks.

“Such face masks can be worn for public use but their effectiveness may vary depending on the type and number of layers of fabric used,” he said in a statement on Covid-19 updates yesterday.

Dr Noor Hisham added non medical face masks were recommended for those who have no Covid-19 symptoms but are in places where physical social distancing is difficult to practice.

On the other hand, medical face masks such as the three-ply surgical masks are mainly used by health workers and the general public with respiratory symptoms due to Covid-19 infection.

He added high-risk groups who are virus-prone, specifically the elderly who are aged 60 and above, and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure should be wearing medical face masks with extra protection.

On a related issue, he asserted that children under the age of two years old should not be wearing face masks, including those who have difficulty in breathing, individuals who are unconscious, incapable, or unable to remove face masks without assistance.

“It is also important to note that face masks should not be shared with others. All face masks needs to be worn and disposed of properly.

“The community is called upon to give full cooperation to the government in overcoming this pandemic,” said Dr Noor Hisham.

Malaysia implemented mandatory wearing of face masks in public places effective yesterday, August 1, 2020. —DayakDaily