PEOPLE aged over 60 are now being advised to wear medical-grade face masks by the World Health Organisation.
The WHO is now supporting medical-grade masks for the over-60s and people with underlying health conditions and says they need to be high-quality.
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In comparison, the UK Government says Brits should cover their faces with scarves, T-shirts or other single layers when going to shops or on public transport.
And the WHO says people over the age of 60 should be wearing medical-grade masks to stop the transmission of the virus.
It comes during the week officials said face coverings are now mandatory on public transport in England from June 15.
WHO guidance recommends more complex masks made of three layers of fabric for the general public taking public transport or anywhere they cannot keep their distance, such as shops.
It also says people over 60 or 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 Guardian reports.
Anyone younger than 60 and in good health should wear a three-layer fabric mask, officials say.
The layers recommended are absorbent cotton closest to the face, followed by a polypropylene layer and then a synthetic layer that is fluid-resistant.
It was yesterday announced that the crucial coronavirus R-rate has crept up above one in some parts of England.
Research by Public Health England and Cambridge University suggests the reproduction rate is 1.01 in the North West and 1.0 in the South West.
And the official UK death toll has now passed 40,000.
WHO officials say that people should be advised to wear masks not only on buses and trains but also wherever physical distancing may be hard, including at schools.
Currently, although the Government says masks must soon be worn on public transport and on visits to hospitals, there's no mandatory requirement for them to be worn in shops or elsewhere.
Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of Covid-19 response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonosis unit at WHO, said masks can offer a "false sense of protection".
"There are many gatherings taking place across the globe for different reasons," she said.
"People who put a homemade mask on feel a sense of protection.
"It is a false sense of protection.
“Masks must be part of a comprehensive strategy.
"They do not work alone.
"They must be used with a number of measures.”
WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that “in the light of evolving evidence, WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult."
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