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Fitness & Health

13th Apr 2020

WHO official says facial protection will become new norm in wake of Covid-19 outbreak

Alan Loughnane

Face masks

People’s lifestyles will change.

A senior World Health Organisation (WHO) figure has said that facial protection, such as masks, will become the norm in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

World Health Organisation special envoy David Nabarro said that people will have to adjust to a “new reality”.

“Some form of facial protection, I’m sure, is going to become the norm, not least to give people reassurance,” Nabarro told the BBC.

“But, I would say, don’t imagine that you can do what you like when you are wearing a mask, that doesn’t give you the excuse to disregard social distancing.”

Nabarro said that currently, the priority is for healthcare workers to have enough PPE to carry out their work safely and next it’s for those with confirmed cases of Covid-19 to wear masks to reduce the risk of them spreading the virus.

Those working frequently with the public and are unable to social distance effectively, such as those on cash registers, are also a priority for face masks.

Nabarro said that it’s difficult at this time to provide everyone with an N95 mask due to the increased the demand, but said some form of mask would become the norm and also that people’s lifestyles would likely change.

He warned that people must adapt to the new reality of a world with Covid-19 the same way the world adapted to other discoveries over the years.

“Because this virus isn’t going to go away, and we don’t know whether people who have had the virus stay immune afterwards and will not get it again,” Nabarro said.

“And, we don’t know when we will have a vaccine. So, what we are saying is get societies defended. Yes, we will have to wear masks. Yes, there will have to be more physical distancing. Yes, we must protect the vulnerable.

“But, most importantly, we must all learn how to interrupt transmission.”

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