The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (2/12) updated its Covid-19 guidelines regarding the use of masks.
WHO recommends wearing masks when indoors with other people if ventilation of the room is deemed inadequate.
The new recommendation applies in areas that are known or suspected to be clusters or communities with new transmission of the corona virus.
“WHO requires people to wear non-medical masks indoors (e.g. shops, co-workplaces, schools) or outdoor settings where a physical distance of at least one meter is not applicable,” the guidelines say.
The WHO also urged people not to wear masks during strenuous physical activity.
In the fourth update on guidelines for wearing masks during the pandemic, WHO called for wider use in health care settings, especially in areas prone to transmission.
“(In such cases, WHO recommends) universal use of masks for everyone (staff, patients, visitors, service providers and others) in a health facility (including primary, secondary, and tertiary care levels; outpatient care; and long-term care facilities), “the guidelines state.
The guidelines also call for the use of masks by inpatients when they are unable to apply a minimum of one meter of social distancing or when the patient is outside their area of care.
More generally, WHO continues to advise anyone suspected of having Covid-19 or who is awaiting test results to always wear a medical mask when around other people.
As for the use of a face shield, WHO said the item only “provides a level of protection in the eyes and should not be considered the equivalent of a mask” in terms of protection against droplet splashes.
WHO says face shields can be an alternative for people who have difficulty wearing non-medical masks, such as sufferers of cognitive, respiratory, or hearing impairments.
“If a face shield is to be used, make sure the design is appropriate to cover the sides of the face and under the chin,” the guidelines say.