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DIY masks not 100% protective vs. COVID-19: WHO

March 24, 2020 - Tuesday 4:03 PM by PNA

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MANILA – Do-it-yourself facial masks are not 100-percent protective but can provide some degree of protection, an official of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

"It is unfortunate but people have to adopt and use do-it-yourself masks. The WHO doesn't encourage this but this is a stop-gap measure as we address a global shortage... in the sense that any protection is better than no protection at all," WHO Country Representative, Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

Abeyasinghe said there is a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) which include facial masks and should be reserved for frontliners and healthcare workers.

"Our call is for everybody in the private sector to support the government's efforts in procuring and supplying PPE, so that healthcare workers will feel protected and secured so they can do their jobs and care for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients," he said.

Abeyasinghe added that the WHO is trying to "rationalize the use of existing PPE through better management of use by the healthcare workers and reduce wastage".

On March 21, the government received some 10,000 pieces of N95 masks, 100,000 surgical masks, and 10,000 PPE from China.

Senator Manny Pacquiao also donated 600,000 face masks to various frontliners in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

He distributed 100,000 face masks to the Philippine National Police; 50,000 to the Armed Forces of the Philippines; 75,000 to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine; 75,000 to the DOH; 75,000 to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; and 50,000 to other medical workers. (PNA)