*Continue practicing everyday preventive actions. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily using a regular household detergent and water.
Notify your workplace as soon as possible if your regular work schedule changes. Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick with COVID-19 symptoms, or if your child’s school is dismissed temporarily. Learn how businesses and employers can plan for and respond to COVID-19.
Stay in touch with others by phone or email. If you have a chronic medical condition and live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during an outbreak. Stay in touch with family and friends, especially those at increased risk of developing severe illness, such as older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions.
In some countries masks are worn in accordance with local customs or in accordance with advice by national authorities in the context of COVID-19. In these situations, best practices should be followed about how to wear, remove, and dispose of them, and for hand hygiene after removal.
Advice to decision makers on the use of masks for healthy people in community settings
As described above, the wide use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not supported by current evidence and carries uncertainties and critical risks. WHO offers the following advice to decision makers so they apply a risk-based approach.
Decisions makers should consider the following:
- Purpose of mask use: the rationale and reason for mask use should be clear– whether it is to be used for source control (used by infected persons) or prevention of COVID-19 (used by healthy persons)
- Risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus in the local context:
The population: current epidemiology about how widely the virus is circulating (e.g., clusters of cases versus community transmission), as well as local surveillance and testing capacity (e.g., contact tracing and follow up, ability to carry out testing).
The individual: working in close contact with public (e.g., community health worker, cashier)
Vulnerability of the person/population to develop severe disease or be at higher risk of death, e.g. people with comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus, and older people
In the interim, decision makers may be moving ahead with advising the use of nonmedical masks. Where this is the case, the following features related to nonmedical masks should be taken into consideration:
- Numbers of layers of fabric/tissue
- Breathability of material used
- Water repellence/hydrophobic qualities
- Shape of mask
- Fit of mask
*Information from https://www.who.int/