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Fabric masks should be made of three layers of different material- WHO

Filed under: Breaking News,Health & Nutrition |
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says an academic research done upon the organisation’s request has revealed that fabric masks should be made of three layers of different material.

In his opening remarks at a press briefing on Covid- 19 recently, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the guidance is based on evolving evidence.

“Based on a new research, WHO advises that fabric masks should consist of at least three layers of different material. Details of which materials we recommend for each layer are in the guidelines,” he said.

The latest guidelines, point out that cloth masks should consist of at least three layers of different materials.

An inner layer being an absorbent material like cotton, a middle layer of non-woven materials such as polypropylene (for the filter) and an outer layer, which is a non- absorbent material such as a polyester or a polyester blend.

“Fabric cloths (e.g., nylon blends and 100 percent polyester) when folded into two layers, provides 2-5 times increased filtration efficiency compared to a single layer of the same cloth, and filtration efficiency increases 2-7 times if it is folded into 4 layers.

“Masks made of cotton handkerchiefs alone should consist of at least 4 layers, but have achieved only 13 percent filtration efficiency.

“Very porous materials, such as gauze, even with multiple layers will not provide sufficient filtration; only 3 percent filtration efficiency,” read the new guidelines.

“Our guidance also explains how to use a mask safely.

“People can potentially infect themselves if they use contaminated hands to adjust a mask, or to repeatedly take it off and put it on, without cleaning hands in between,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

He urged people to guard against the false sense of security brought about by wearing masks, saying it is still important to observe other guidelines like social distancing and practicing hygienic lifestyles.

“I cannot say this clearly enough: masks alone will not protect you from COVID-19.

“Masks are not a replacement for physical distancing, hand hygiene and other public health measures. Masks are only of benefit as part of a comprehensive approach in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

He added that WHO came up with the guidance through a careful review of all available evidence, and extensive deliberations with global health experts and civil society groups.

“I wish to be very clear that the guidance we are publishing today is an update of what we have been saying for months: that masks should only ever be used as part of a comprehensive strategy in the fight against COVID-19,” he emphasised.

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