Coronavirus Prompts Strict New Mask Requirements & City Lockdown
23 Jan 2020
With reports of the Coronavirus spreading from human to human, millions of people have decided to start wearing masks to protect themselves from the disease. In fact, as of yesterday, people in Wuhan are now required to wear masks and this morning the city was placed on lockdown as concerns of the virus spreading grows.
New Mask Use Requirement in Wuhan
The People's Daily yesterday announced that in order to expand the nation's and Hubei province's deployment of prevention and control of the new coronavirus infections, strengthen management of public places, and cut off the transmission of the virus, the "Regulations on Public Place Hygiene Management" and other relevant laws and regulations, are implementing control measures for the use of masks in public places in the city. Staff in state agencies, enterprises and institutions should wear masks while on duty. Operators of all public places must require customers who enter their premises to put on masks before entering their public places of operation, and set up eye-catching and clear instructions at their entrances; advising users who do not wear masks to not enter the premises. For those who do not listen, operators shall report them to the relevant authorities in accordance with the provisions of the "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases" and the "Regulations on Health Management of Public Places", and the relevant authorities shall deal with them in accordance with their respective duties and laws.
Wuhan Transportation Shutdown
The Xinhua News Agency reported this morning that as of 10:00 a.m. on January 23, Wuhan's city buses, subways, ferries, and long-distance passenger transportation have been suspended. Citizens should not leave Wuhan without a special reason. The airport and railway stations leaving Wuhan are temporarily closed. No timeframe has been given as to when the shutdown will end.
Using Masks to Protect Against Infectious Disease
With all of this going on, it's important to take a moment to understand the proper use of wearing masks. You may have already seen some of these images of people going a bit overboard with their mask use floating around social media.
Failing to use the correct masks properly, can actually increase your chances of being infected by viruses. Although specific authoritative guidelines on mask use regarding the Coronavirus have not yet been published, there are plenty regarding protecting against the flu, which according to the World Health Organization, kills roughly half a million people each year, so we thought we'd share some of those expert authoritative guidelines to help keep you safe.
Don't Forget to Wash Your Hands
The most important takeaway after researching this topic through the most trusted names in the control of infectious diseases; however, is that performing good hand hygiene (e.g., handwashing with non-antimicrobial soap and water for 20 seconds, or alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available) after having contact with respiratory secretions and contaminated objects/materials is the most important protective action you can take. It should be obvious to also avoid sharing plates and utensils with, or hugging and kissing, people who are obviously sick.
What Type of Masks to Wear
NIOSH-certified respirators offer the best protection for workers who must work closely (either in contact with or within 6 feet) with people who have influenza-like symptoms, according to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). These generally include those workers who work in occupations classified as very high exposure risk or high exposure risk to people. Surgical masks are used as a physical barrier to protect the user from hazards, such as splashes of large droplets of blood or body fluids.
Surgical masks also protect other people against infection from the person wearing the surgical mask. Such masks trap large particles of body fluids that may contain bacteria or viruses expelled by the wearer. They may also protect people from splashes or sprays of blood or bodily fluids and may also keep contaminated fingers/hands away from the mouth and nose. Surgical masks are not designed or certified to prevent the inhalation of small airborne contaminants. These particles are not visible to the naked eye but may still be capable of causing infection. Surgical masks are not designed to seal tightly against the user's face. During inhalation, much of the potentially contaminated air can pass through gaps between the face and the surgical mask and not be pulled through the filter material of the mask. Their ability to filter small particles varies significantly based upon the type of material used to make the surgical mask, so they cannot be relied upon to protect people against airborne infectious agents.
How to put on and remove a face mask
Disposable face masks should be used once and then thrown in the trash. You should also remove and replace masks when they become moist.
How to put on a face mask
- Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.
- Remove a mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask.
- Determine which side of the mask is the top. The side of the mask that has a stiff bendable edge is the top and is meant to mold to the shape of your nose.
- Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.
Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.
- Face Mask with Ties: Bring the mask to your nose level and place the ties over the crown of your head and secure with a bow.
- Face Mask with Bands: Hold the mask in your hand with the nosepiece or top of the mask at fingertips, allowing the headbands to hang freely below hands. Bring the mask to your nose level and pull the top strap over your head so that it rests over the crown of your head. Pull the bottom strap over your head so that it rests at the nape of your neck.
Mold or pinch the stiff edge to the shape of your nose. If using a face mask with ties: Then take the bottom ties, one in each hand, and secure with a bow at the nape of your neck. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.
How to remove a face mask
Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask. Avoid touching the front of the mask. The front of the mask is contaminated. Only touch the ear loops/ties/band. Follow the instructions below for the type of mask you are using.
- Face Mask with Ear loops: Hold both of the ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask.
- Face Mask with Ties: Untie the bottom bow first then untie the top bow and pull the mask away from you as the ties are loosened.
- Face Mask with Bands: Lift the bottom strap over your head first then pull the top strap over your head.
Throw the mask in the trash. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
We hope you found this article helpful. Be sure to share it with your loved ones to help keep them safe.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Regulations (Standards - 29 CFR)
- How to Put on and Remove a Face Mask
- Respiratory Infection Control: Respirators Versus Surgical Masks
- Interim Guidance for the Use of Masks to Control Seasonal Influenza Virus Transmission
- Non-occupational Uses of Respiratory Protection – What Public Health Organizations and Users Need to Know
- How to Wear and Remove N95 Masks Properly
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