Local health experts say it is unnecessary for the mass public to wear masks if they do not show symptoms of the novel coronavirus, and that there are other precautionary measures that are far more important.
The threat of the novel coronavirus which had claimed the lives of 159 in China and has spread accords the world, has led to people queueing at local pharmacies to purchase masks. This rise in demand for masks has resulted in a shortage of supply and a rise in prices at private pharmacies.
Dr. Ali Latheef, who joined Health Minister Abdulla Ameen in a press conference on Friday night, noted this phenomenon. He said that it was unnecessary for masks to be worn by anyone who wasn’t ill themselves.
“Even in hospitals, we have decided that masks will be worn in the ER, and areas where doctors have contact with a lot of patients. However, we do not recommend wearing masks as a standard precautionary measure for the mass public,” said Latheef, a prominent figure in internal medicine.
Dr. Abdulla Niyaf, a Pediatrician and Chief Medical Officer at ADK Hospital, too, opinioned that it was unnecessary to wear masks that the unexposed public do not need to wear masks.
With masks the guidance is that unexposed public don’t NEED to wear masks. You still CAN even if it’s not necessary.— Abdulla Niyaf (@niyaf) February 1, 2020
Mask supply is NOT inexhaustible. Hoarding and wasteful use WILL lead to shortage. Then those who ARE exposed - patients, their close contacts and HCW run out.
He recommended frequent handwashing with soap and water or the use of hand sanitizers as the most important precaution.
Other precautionary measures he recommended:
He also advised those who have flu-like symptoms to remain at home and avoid contact with others, while looking after themselves and seeking medical attention if they need it.
Meanwhile, those who have flu-like symptoms who cannot avoid going out into public have been advised to wear masks, but to dispose of them after single use.
Those who returned from a recent trip to China or had close contact with anyone who recently came from China and show symptoms of the novel coronavirus have been advised to contact Health Protection Agency (HPA) through its hotline 7377004, before seeking medical attention at a local hospital or clinic.