Senior WHO figure says wearing masks will become 'new reality'

13 April 2020, 11:41

Two residents of a US care home pictured in masks
Two residents of a US care home pictured in masks. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 envoy Dr David Nabarro today said that wearing face masks is going to become a “new reality” of day-to-day life in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Nabarro said: “Some form of facial protection, I'm sure, is going to become the norm, not least to give people reassurance.

"But, I would say, don't imagine that you can do what you like when you are wearing a mask."

The UK government does not currently advise the wearing of masks, although some Brits have taken to wearing them to protect themselves.

In the US, Donald Trump has advised citizens to wear masks, although he has been pictured without one. There have also been reports of the US intercepting masks destined for other countries.

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Dr Nabarro added that people's lifestyles would need to change as well.

He said: "Because this virus isn't going to go away, and we don't know whether people who have had the virus stay immune afterwards and will not get it again.

"And, we don't know when we will have a vaccine. So, what we are saying is get societies defended.

"Yes, we will have to wear masks. Yes, there will have to be more physical distancing.

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"Yes, we must protect the vulnerable. But, most importantly, we must all learn how to interrupt transmission.

"It's a revolution. Like happened when it was discovered that dirty water bore cholera in 1850.

"Or, like perhaps 25 years ago we all learned about HIV/Aids and its relationship with sex.

"We changed, and we adapted and we learned how to live with these new realities.

"We have also got to live with the new reality of life with Covid."