WHO: DIY face masks, PPE better than no protection
MANILA, Philippines — While do-it-yourself face masks or personal protective equipment (PPE) do not guarantee a 100 percent protection, the World Health Organization (WHO) said this is better than no protection at all.
“Unfortunately, we are in a situation where there is a shortage of masks and PPE and so we have seen in many situations people using do-it-yourself kits,” WHO’s representative in the Philippines Rabindra Abeyasinghe said Tuesday in a press briefing.
“The issue with that is that they cannot 100% protect you. But they will provide some degree of protection,” he added.
Due to a shortage in medical supplies, several hospitals and healthcare facilities have been asking for donations as they address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country.
This prompted some individuals to create improvised face masks and even face shields for hospital workers to prevent their exposure to COVID-19 while in line of duty.
“In these circumstances, any protection will be better than no protection,” Abeyasinghe noted.
He also reiterated WHO’s call that face masks be reserved to frontline health workers.
“Because if the health workers are falling sick, there will be no one to provide support and care for the sick people,” he said.
Abeyasinghe said WHO is closely working with the Philippine government in trying to access PPEs, and at the same time guiding health workers on how to properly manage the existing ones.
“We are helping health workers to manage the existing PPEs so that we reduce wastage but at the same time we recognize there is a limited supply and so we need to try to access larger quantities of PPEs to deal with this ongoing outbreak,” he said.
WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic since it has already infected more than 340,000 people worldwide and killed more than 14,000 mostly in China and Italy.
In the Philippines, COVID-19 cases swelled to 501 on Tuesday morning, of which 33 have already died.
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