The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking at recommending people wear face masks in public, based on new evidence that suggest it could help contain the pandemic in some Asian countries.
At a briefing on Wednesday, Prof David Heymann, an infectious disease expert who led the global response to the SARS outbreak, said that new research from Hong Kong had prompted a reconsideration of the role of face masks.
“The WHO is debating that tomorrow to understand if there is evidence that would call for a change in what WHO is recommending,” he said.
The news comes as the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) in the UK issues a call for every patient and member of staff in hospitals there to be given facemasks, to be worn 24/7 to reduce the risk of infection.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also reportedly reviewing its guidance on masks in public.
It is a decision that could have major implications for the healthcare sector – and aged care providers – who are already struggling to source adequate PPE supplies.
Last week, both NSW Health and Queensland Health issued warning about the theft of PPE within its hospitals.
Will the Government be able to meet the demand in both health and aged care and the wider community?