Public are denying NHS workers life saving PPE by buying up face masks, WHO warns – The Sun
MASK-wearing Brits are denying NHS staff of crucial and potentially life saving protection, the World Health Organisation has warned.
The medical masks should be kept for health and care staff who need them most.
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The WHO said in new advice issued today that when the general public wear masks they actually risk spreading COVID-19 even further, by creating a false sense of security.
There was no evidence that healthy people wearing masks of any kinds could prevent infection from respiratory viruses.
It has previously warned countries are hurtling into a global shortage of facemasks and other protective equipment.
The advice said: "Medical masks should be reserved for healthcare workers.
"The use of medical masks in the community may create a false sense of security, with neglect of other essential measures, such as hand hygiene practices and physical distancing."
People wearing masks might end up touching their faces more, increasing the likelihood of infection.
WHO officials said not to "take masks away from those in health care who need them most, especially when masks are in short supply”.
The advice did say wearing masks had benefits including "reducing potential exposure risk from an infected person during the ‘pre-symptomatic’ period”, and avoiding stigmatisation of infected people wearing them to stop the spread."
But overall, there were more risks than benefits and it is "critical" that they be saved for health care workers.
They added masks made from cotton fabrics had not be evaluated to see if they work at stopping the spread of the virus.
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Associate Professor in Cellular microbiology at the University of Reading Simon Clarke told The Times: "The advice remains that anyone with symptoms should wear a mask, but the UK goes beyond that by telling infected people to stay at home."
"It remains the case that your front door will contain the virus much more effectively than any face mask".
NHS health care workers have already been having to fight for get enough personal protective gear.
Young and healthy key workers including medical staff and bus drivers have died after being infected with coronavirus.
The widow of one of the bus drivers said he wasn't given any protective equipment.
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