As India witnesses a spike in coronavirus cases, the central government on Saturday issued an advisory asking people to wear "homemade face covers" particularly when they step out of their houses in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In the 'Advisory on the use of Homemade Protective Cover for Face and Mouth', the government said the use of such masks will help in protecting the community at large and that certain countries have claimed benefits of homemade face masks for the general public.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country rose to 2,902 while the death toll increased to 68 on Saturday.
#IndiaFightsCoronavirus :The Advisory and Manual Use of Homemade Protective Cover for Face and Mask can be seen at:https://t.co/Dj8ojLRfXQ@PMOIndia @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @PIBFactCheck @COVIDNewsByMIB @MIB_India @DDNewslive @airnewsalerts @IndiaDST @PTI_News— Ministry of Health 🇮🇳 #StayHome #StaySafe (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 4, 2020
In the US, President Donald Trump has recommended to all citizens the voluntary use non-medical masks as an additional public health measure to fight the deadly coronavirus while keeping medical-grade masks available for health workers.
The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that Americans wear basic cloth or fabric masks that can be either purchased online or simply made at home.
The World Health Organization, too, opened the door to greater public use of homemade masks or other mouth coverings as a way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
A senior WHO official told reporters there was some possibility of airborne transmission of the virus that has now infected over 1 million people and killed 50,000 people worldwide since emerging in China last December.
But the main driver of the pandemic was still believed to be sick people with symptoms who were coughing and sneezing and contaminating surfaces or other people.
"We must preserve medical surgical respirator masks for our frontline workers. But the idea of using respiratory coverings or mouth coverings to prevent coughing or sneezing projecting disease into the environment and towards others ... that in itself is not a bad idea," Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies expert, told a news conference.