Coronavirus: Are Masks Effective Preventive Measure?

Coronavirus: Are Masks Effective Preventive Measure?

The COVID-19 commonly known as novel coronavirus has spread across the globe. So far, India has reported about 28 coronavirus positive cases. The World Health Organization announcing coronavirus as a public health emergency has created a wave of panic worldwide. The virus has already infected nearly 92,818 people and more than 3,100 people have been killed globally. Thus, coronavirus is posing a serious threat to the rest of the world. As the coronavirus spreading tension prevail among people, the precautionary measures to stay away from the infection are growing. Using masks have become the most common, but, can face masks provide protection against the new coronavirus?

To Mask or Not

With rapid spread of virus, safety measure confusion is widespread among people. Should face masks be worn? If so when, how and what type of mask could provide an effective protection. A regular medical face mask is certainly not an option to go for, says Dr. William Schaffner, Infectious Disease Specialist, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. (Source: LiveScience)

But, a specialized mask, named N95 respirator could aid in protecting people from the new coronavirus. This mask is much thicker than the regular surgical mask. But, wearing mask is not recommended for healthy individuals, as N95 respirator should be worn tightly on a person's face which is not advisable for a long time. According to Center of Disease Control (CDC), the mask could provide strong protection by filtering about 95 per cent of airborne particles. A healthy person wearing N95 for a long time would cause suffocation, thus, its ideal to use this masks on sick persons and their care takers, suggests World Health Organization.

The mask should be worn with perfect fitting, and ensure no gap is left around the nose and mouth to avoid air circulation. Also, the make sure to not touch the mask until it's on.  

Government's Move to Restrict COVID-19

As a preventive measure to confine the further spreading of coronavirus, Indian government has cancelled the visa granted for Italy, Japan, Iran and South Korea on or before March 3, 2020 with immediate effect. Additionally, the government has also revised its travel advisory to counter the spreading of virus. Visas granted on or before February 1st to all the foreign nationals travelling to China, Japan, Italy, Iran and South Korea and not entered India yet, have been suspended.

But, people who want to enter India under credible situations could apply for a fresh visa to nearest Indian Embassy. However, this entry restriction is not applicable for United Nations' officials & other international bodies, Diplomats, Oversea Citizenship of India (OCI) cardholders and aircrew from the above countries; still they should undergo a proper medical screening.