Health Ministry May Require Israelis to Wear Masks Outside the Home

Henrietta Strickland
March 31, 2020

Austria is joining a small number of countries to make wearing face masks outside the home mandatory, the Financial Times reported.

USA health officials said on Tuesday they are discussing whether to recommend that the general public wear face masks as a way to prevent transmission of the new coronavirus, but that it was too soon to take that step.

Many Asian countries recommend citizens wear masks to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and the homemade masks have some prominent proponents in the US, including former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb; Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security; and former National Institutes of Health director Harold Varmus. "If you're sick, wear a mask".

"There also is the issue that we have a massive global shortage", he added. "We want to make sure we are reserving PPE for the people who most need it. The thought of them not having masks is horrific". But studies of influenza pandemics show surgical masks do protect people a bit more than no masks at all.

Trump's statements came in response to a question about a new roadmap to recovery authored by former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, which suggested that citizens be urged to wear non-medical face masks when in public.

CGTN went to Washington ask people if they think masks are helpful in slowing the spread of COVID-19. And Time noted that almost everyone on Hong Kong's streets, trains, and buses has been wearing masks since the outbreak.

Gottlieb made clear that medical masks, which are in limited supply, should be reserved for healthcare professionals.

States and health care workers have been clamoring for more face masks, particularly the N95 masks.

President Donald Trump said at the White House coronavirus briefing on Monday, "it's certainly something we could discuss".

And some experts are concerned it could provide people with a false sense of security and make them less likely to follow social distancing guidelines. He also noted how mask-wearing is a common preventive measure in China.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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