Health minister advises individuals with respiratory symptoms to use medical face masks

Health minister advises individuals with respiratory symptoms to use medical face masks

The Ministry of Health has recommended individuals experiencing respiratory symptoms to use medical face masks or three-ply surgical masks as a preventive measure against Covid-19 infection.

Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said high-risk groups such as senior citizens and patients suffering from chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure, should also use the same type of face masks especially at places where it’s hard to practise social distancing.

However, face masks should not be worn by children below two and those suffering from breathing difficulties or are unconscious as well as by disabled individuals or those who are unable to take off the mask without assistance, he said in a statement today.

Dr Adham encouraged those not in the high-risk group to wear non-medical face masks when in crowded public places such as on public transportations, in workplaces and grocery stores.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended the use of non-medical face masks made of fabric or cloth with three layers comprising an innermost layer that absorbs water (hydrophilic) such as cotton or a cotton blend; an outermost layer made of a material that prevents water absorption (hydrophobic) such as polypropylene, polyester, or its mixture; and a hydrophobic middle layer made of synthetic non-woven material such as polypropylene or a cotton layer that can increase the filtration or resistance of liquid droplets.

He said non-medical fabric face masks on the market that did not have these criteria could still be worn by the public but its effectiveness would depend on the type and number of layers of the fabric used.

“Face masks can be used whether to protect healthy individuals from being infected or to prevent those who have been infected from infecting others,” he said, adding that the use of face masks should be practised together with keeping hands clean and observing safe physical distancing.

Beginning this Saturday (August 1), face masks will be mandatory in crowded areas to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection in the country. ― Bernama