Globally COVID-19 situation is worsening: World Health Organization chief

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The World Health Organization is now recommending that everyone wear face masks in public when they can not practice social distancing, a radical change from their previous orientation on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

This comes after previous guidance stated that there was no need for suspected healthy people to wear a mask in public.

While the government has made it mandatory for all to cover mouth and nose using mask or cloth, the latest guidelines set by the World Health Organisation has changed its stance from just covering the face to using three-layered masks.

"In areas with community transmission, we advise that people aged 40 years or over or those with underlying conditions should wear a medical mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible".

On public transport or other areas where social distancing is hard to maintain, the public should also wear non-medical masks.

A female student wearing a protective face mask.

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In a bit of news that is a departure from what we have been hearing for months, a high-level official at the World Health Organization has said that asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus are not the primary spreaders of it, according to their research.

More than 1,36,000 cases were reported worldwide on Sunday, "the most in a single day so far", WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

And we specified a cloth mask, that is, a non-medical mask, "said World Health Organization chief technical expert on COVID-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, about the updated guidance in a new interview". Masks are for those who are sick. That means, for example, that when a doctor is doing a ward round on the cardiology or palliative care units where there are no confirmed COVID-19 patients, they should still wear a medical mask.

The revised guidelines state that masks are not a replacement for basic public health measures which have been implemented, and that the same must continued to be followed.

Tedros said that the updated guidance on usage of face masks contains important information about the composition of fabric masks based on academic research requested by WHO.

The agency also warned that improperly using face masks can increase your risk of catching or spreading coronavirus. For some people, wearing a mask also seems to translate into feeling protected enough for them not to have to take other steps, although masks are supposed to be part of a regimen that includes social distancing and frequent handwashing.

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