Mask-wearing in offices necessary due to airborne COVID-19 – Health Minister
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, says it is necessary to keep masks on when working in indoor settings following updated guidance from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which indicated recently that the coronavirus is an airborne threat.
During his daily COVID-19 update on Wednesday, the Health Minister related that, initially, scientists found that the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease COVID-19) was spread through droplets. As such, maintaining a six feet social distance and constantly sanitising surfaces were necessary.
Subsequently, he noted that it was found that the disease could be spread through aerosols (a suspension of extremely small particles in liquid or gas), which are smaller than droplets and contain viral particles.
“I think more and more the reputable international agencies that deal with epidemics have concluded that aerosols play a very significant role in transmission, especially in indoor environments,” the Health Minister said.
With this new information, he highlighted: “We too have to take the evidence into consideration and we have to warn people that if you working in an indoor environment, then it is necessary to keep your mask on all the time because you don’t know who you interfacing with and what is circulating in that indoor environment.”
In the updated gazetted Emergency COVID-19 Measures, there is now a requirement to wear a face mask at a workplace. As in previous guidelines, the mask must be fitted to cover the nose, mouth and chin. Masks are to be worn when in public and when travelling in any vehicle.
Meanwhile, the Health Minister also gave an update on the local vaccination rollout. According to him, at the end of Tuesday, 159,951 people have received their first dose of one of the vaccines while 16,004 people received both their first and second doses.