Thursday, October 22

Face masks pivotal step in avoiding infection from viruses, says Health Dept principal assistant director

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Bernama file photo for illustration purposes

KUCHING: Wearing face masks is a pivotal step to avoid being infected with viruses such as Covid-19, said Sarawak Health Department principal assistant director Dr Ho Ai Chia.

At the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) daily update press conference today, she said putting on a face mask served the purpose of protecting healthy self from virus infection.

“It also helps to prevent those who are not feeling well from spreading the virus to others especially when it concerns respiratory droplets.

“Hence, the general public must use a face mask in public places especially in crowded places,” she said after SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas briefed the press of the latest development on Covid-19.

According to Dr Ho, there are two types of face masks, medical and non-medical, that can be used as protection from viruses.

She said medical face masks referred to the three-ply surgical masks usually utilised by medical personnel and more suitable for high-risk groups such as senior citizens (aged 60 and above) and individuals with chronic diseases.

She added that non-medical face masks would be meant for individuals who were not displaying symptoms or signs, and are not residing in high-risk areas.

“Healthy individuals can use non-medical face masks in their respective workplaces and during travels using public transport,” she said.

Dr Ho said fabric face masks would serve a similar purpose to non-medical face masks.

“Three-ply face masks are recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MoH). Toddlers aged two and below cannot use a face mask,” she said.

While it is pertinent to wear a face mask, Dr Ho said it is equally important for one to keep their hands hygienic before putting on the mask.

She also reminded all of the importance of observing and practising a one-metre physical distancing in public places.