WHO advises public to wear face masks when unable to distance
Over-60s should use medical-grade masks and all others three-layer fabric ones, health body says
People over 60 or with health issues should wear a medical-grade mask when they are out and cannot socially distance, according to new guidance from the World Health Organization, while all others should wear a three-layer fabric mask.
The announcement on Friday marks a significant change of stance by the WHO, which until now has been reluctant to advocate the wearing of masks by the public because of limited evidence that they offer protection.
The health body’s new guidance document says the over-60s and people with underlying health conditions should wear medical masks in “settings where physical distancing cannot be achieved” because of “increased risk of infection and/or negative outcomes”.
The WHO said people should be advised to wear masks not only on buses and trains but also wherever physical distancing may be hard – in grocery stores, at work, at social gatherings, at mass gatherings and in closed settings, including schools, churches, mosques and other places of worship.