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New Delhi, April 4, 2020
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has issued an advisory suggesting that people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficuties may use handmade reusable face covers, particularly when they step out of their homes, as part of the measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
"We are aware that social distancing and personal hygiene are keys to prevent COVID-19 infections. Certain countries have claimed benefits of homemade face cover for the general public," the advisory said.
"Such homemade face cover is a good method for maintaining personal hygiene. Such usage certainly will help in maintaining overall hygienic health conditions," it said.
"Therefore, it is suggested that such people who are not suffering from medical conditions or having breathing difficulties may use the handmade reusable face cover, particularly when they step out of their house. This will help in protecting the community at large," it said.
The advisory said this face cover is not recommended for either health workers or those working with or in contact with COVID-19 patients or are patients themselves as these categories of people are required to wear specified protective gear.
"It is advised that two sets of such face covers be made so that one can be washed while the other is used. Hand washing would still remain essential criteria and hand should be washed before wearing the face cover. Such face covers should also not be thrown anywhere but kept safely, washed properly with soap and hot water and dried properly before they are used.
"These face covers could be made out of clean cloth available at home, which needs to be thoroughly cleaned and washed before a face cover is stitched/made. The face cover should be prepared in such a manner that it can cover the mouth and nose completely and can be tied over the face easily.
"There must not be a sharing of face covers and a face cover must be used by only one individual. So, in a family of several members, each member should have a separate face cover," the advisory added.