The Central Government has written to all states and union territories on Monday (20th July, 2020), warning againt the use of N-95 masks with valved respirator by people. It has been stated that, an N-95 mask with valved respirator, does not prevent the virus from spreading out, and is “detrimental” to the measures adopted for its containment.
According to The Director of General Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Rajiv Garg, there has been “inappropriate use” of N-95 Masks, particularly those with valved respirators, by the public other than designated health workers. The letter is quoted as, “It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N-95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of coronavirus as it does not prevent the virus from escaping out of mask. In view of the above, I request you to instruct all concerned to follow the use of face/mouth cover and prevent inappropriate use of N-95 masks.”
The DGHS has also referred to the advisory on the use of home-made protective cover for face and mouth, available on the website of the Ministry of Health. The advisory was issued in April, asking people to wear protective cover for face and mouth, particularly while stepping out of their residences.
The advisory emphasized on the importance of washing and cleaning the face covers each day. It added that any used cloth can be converted into a face cover. According to the advisory, the colour of the fabric does not matter, but one has to ensure that the fabric is washed properly in boiling water for five minutes, post which, it should be dried and then only, a face cover should be made with that particular piece of cloth. Use of salt in the boiling water has been advised.
In addition to that, the advisory has also detailed the steps of making such homemade masks, urging people to ensure that it fits the face properly and leaves no gaps on the sides.
It has also been advised that people should wash hands thoroughly before wearing the face cover. Besides, face covers should be changed if it becomes damp or humid and reusing must be prevented in case the face cover has not been cleaned after a single use.
The advisory advised that one should never share his/her face cover with anybody else. Every member in a family must have a separate face cover.