THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Foreseeing a long battle against Covid-19, the state may soon advise all people to wear cotton facemasks while going out. Healthcare workers, patients, people with breathing difficulty or those with any difficulty in removing masks without assistance will be exempted from wearing reusable cotton masks.TNIE had earlier reported that the health department has prepared a document on the use of cotton masks and might ask all to wear reusable facemasks as part of breaking the chain of transmission.
“The focus is on stopping the spread of the virus through respiratory droplets, as even an asymptomatic person could potentially be a SARS-CoV2 (coronavirus) carrier. As per an international study, a layer of cloth in front of a person’s face is enough to stop 99 per cent of the droplets from falling on others. But there is no need to buy medical/surgical masks. They are for healthcare workers,” said a health department official.At the same time, the document stresses on the need to continue social distancing, and hand and respiratory hygiene practices as the cotton facemasks provide only marginal level protection from the infection.
“Cloth masks should be made with at least two layers of 100 per cent cotton cloth. It should be breathable. It should cover the mouth and nose completely, fit tightly and comfortably against the side of the face,” the document says. According to a senior officer at the department, it will very soon kick-start a campaign to create awareness among people on the need to wear facemasks and how to make cloth masks at home. To meet the possible spike in demand, self-help groups and Kudumbasrhee workers will also be roped in.