Coronavirus: No need for face masks at the moment, says expert

PUTRAJAYA: It is not necessary to wear a face mask for now since no human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has occurred in Malaysia, says infectious diseases consultant Dr Benedict Sim.

Dr Sim, who is from Hospital Sungai Buloh, said this is why there has been no recommendation that the public to use face masks routinely every time they leave their homes.

“Masks are helpful when there are human-to-human transmissions but there is none in Malaysia currently.

“That advice may change over time, if the outbreak changes, ” he told a media briefing by the Health Ministry on Thursday (Jan 30).

However, Dr Sim said it was necessary to wear a facemask when visiting China, where the epicentre of the outbreak is.

He added that the 2019-CoV is spread mainly through droplets and contact, so the suitable mask if there is need for one would be the three-layer surgical mask.

He also stressed that if worn, the mask has to fit one’s facial contours and be applied properly.

Dr Sim added that there was no need for people to wear the N95 mask as it is not airborne.

On the trend of symptoms currently, he said that some of the young people who contracted the virus had no symptoms at all.

As of now, he said some have a very mild version or have no symptoms.

The death rate too has not shot up at the same rate as the incidence of the disease, he said.

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