'Normal people doing normal work' need not wear mask - WHO official | Inquirer News

‘Normal people doing normal work’ need not wear mask – WHO official

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 10:18 PM January 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A World Health Organization (WHO) official has reminded the public that most people can go about their daily lives without using surgical masks.

“Normal people going about their normal work don’t need to wear surgical or N95 masks,” WHO country representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe told reporters on Tuesday.


He issued the clarification after seeing some reporters wearing face masks at a press briefing.

It has become common to see people wearing surgical masks in public in the wake of ashfall from Taal Volcano’s eruption on Jan. 12 and the threat of a pandemic due to the spread of a novel coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than 100 people.


The new strain of coronavirus has already reached Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, the United States, Canada and France.

When to wear a mask

One may wear a mask if he or she has signs and symptoms of respiratory infection, according to Abeyasinghe.

Those visiting somebody in a healthcare facility where there is a concentration of people with respiratory infections, or those going to crowded places or a wet market may also opt to wear masks, the WHO official said.

“But you don’t need to routinely wear mask morning to evening. I’m just trying to reassure you that you don’t face such a high risk that you need to wear a mask at the press conference given by the health secretary,” he added, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

With the high demand for face masks not only in the country but globally, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo appealed to the public to reserve the N95 for those who really need it.

“N95 masks and gloves are only recommended for those taking care of sick people and who are in contact or those who are under investigation,” said Domingo.

Washing of hands

At the House of Representatives, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a former health secretary, said that using face masks in schools or workplaces might be of some help against the new coronavirus but proper hygiene “especially the frequent washing of hands: was still the best way to avoid contracting the disease.


Garin reminded the public further that “used masks should be disposed of properly.”

As of Tuesday, the country had no confirmed case of the virus after a series of false alarms and health checks of suspected carriers, according to the Department of Health.

Garin called for calm amid the health scare surrounding the viral outbreak from Wuhan, China.

“It’s one thing to take precautionary measures but it’s another to spread fear and hysteria,” she said. – WITH A REPORT FROM DJ YAP INQ

Inquirer calls for support for the victims of Taal volcano eruption
Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief to the families affected by the recent eruption of Taal volcano.
Cash donations may be deposited in the Inquirer Foundation Corp. Banco De Oro (BDO) Current Account No: 007960018860.
Inquiries may be addressed and emailed to Inquirer’s Corporate Affairs office through [email protected]

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Coronavirus, surgical masks, Taal Volcano, World Health Organization
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.