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Can wearing a mask protect you against coronavirus?

Can wearing a mask protect you against coronavirus?

Posted May 29, 2020
Health

Media Release: Ministry of Health

For the public, staying home if you’re unwell, maintaining physical distancing and basic hygiene measures remain the most important way to stop the spread of infections, including COVID-19. This is reinforced by the Ministry of Health’s latest advice on community use of face masks published along with an updated policy and evidence review.

Basic hygiene measures include:

hand hygiene – that is, washing hands regularly with soap and water, then drying them thoroughly, or cleansing with alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcoholcoughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow and then performing hand hygieneavoiding touching your facecleaning surfaces and frequently touched items regularly

The use of face masks can reduce the spread of infection when used correctly and in the appropriate context. They are recommended in situations where people are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, such as health care settings and those involved in border management.For most people in the community the advice remains unchanged - healthy people in the community are not required to wear a face mask for protection from COVID-19 in New Zealand. Healthy members of the public may choose to purchase and wear a face mask, or make their own. The Ministry of Health encourages them to use their face mask safely, as there are risks associated with incorrect use of all types of face masks.

More information is available on the Ministry website about the use of face masks in the community, including how to use face masks safely and the updated review on the science and policy around face masks and COVID-19:

The Ministry also recommends people visit the World Health Organisation (WHO) website to watch informational videos like the one below.

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-use-face-masks-community

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-use-face-masks-community/covid-19-how-use-face-mask-safely