- Medical masks are primarily meant for public health and infection prevention and control professionals, health workers and managers as well as community health workers.
- In community, a medical mask is not required for people who are not sick as there is no evidence of its usefulness in protecting them.
- People at home with suspected COVID-19 and mild respiratory symptoms should use a medical mask; the mask should be worn for as long as possible, if it can be tolerated, and changed at least once daily; those sharing living space with these persons should wear a medical mask when in the same room as the affected person.
- Medical masks should be worn by health care workers when entering a room with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
- Particulate respirator such as the N95 mask should be used when performing aerosol-generating procedures: tracheal intubation, non-invasive ventilation, tracheotomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, manual ventilation before intubation and bronchoscopy.
- By wearing a medical mask, healthy people contribute in emphasizing the unnecessary cost and mask shortage. It can create a false sense of security if not used in conjunction with other measures such as hand hygiene and social distancing.
- While wearing a medical mask protection to get its full effectiveness, it is imperative to wear it and remove it correctly in order to avoid any increase in transmission.
Current information suggests that the route of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 is either via respiratory droplets or contact, and any person who is within 1 metre (in close contact) of someone who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. sneezing, coughing, etc.) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets.
This guideline is provided by The World Health Organization (WHO) and it is intended for public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, healthcare managers, healthcare workers and community health workers. Swift advice on the use of medical masks in communities and in healthcare facilities is given to minimize the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response. (March 19, 2020). Advice on the use of masks in the community, during home care, and in health care settings in the context of COVID-19. World Health Organization.