WHO exec: Face masks give ‘false sense of confidence’; put healthy people ‘at more risks’ | Inquirer News

WHO exec: Face masks give ‘false sense of confidence’; put healthy people ‘at more risks’

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:47 PM February 04, 2020

WHO exec: Face masks give ‘false sense of confidence’; put healthy people ‘at more risks’

World Health Organization Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe attends Senate hearing on the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus on Feb 4, 2020. INQUIRER.NET PHOTO / CATHY MIRANDA

MANILA, Philippines — Asymptomatic people or those who have no symptoms could be “at more risks” if they wear face masks supposedly to prevent getting infected by the novel coronavirus.

World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Rabindra Abeyasinghe issued this warning during Tuesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on health.


Abeyasinghe reiterated that only those who have respiratory symptoms or high risks individuals, as well as health workers and those who are exposed in crowded areas, should wear face masks.


READ: Who should wear surgical masks? WHO answers

“We don’t see a benefit of masks to be used by the general public,” he said. “We continue to advocate that people who are having respiratory symptom, people who are dealing with large numbers of public, who are exposed to possible risk, who are in crowded places could be wearing those masks at that time.”

“But it would be preferable to reserve those masks for high risks individuals including health workers,” he stressed.

Abeyasinghe appealed to everyone to be “rationale” in using the face masks following reports that many stores are running out of stocks especially after authorities reported the first coronavirus death in the Philippines.

READ: Coronavirus: What we know about first death outside China

Wearing masks is not an assurance that they could be protected from the virus.


“Factually, it shows that non-symptomatic people using masks, it will give them a false sense of confidence and put them at more risks because they tend to wash hands less,” the WHO official said.

“So it’s more important that they wear the masks properly if they are symptomatic, and that they wash hands regularly,” he stressed.

Abeyasinghe underscored the importance of maintaining good hygiene, such as keeping hands clean, as the more effective way to avoid contracting the virus.

Edited by KGA


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