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Shareby Tiziana Di Giovannandrea 06 April 2020 The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during the usual press conference on the Coronavirus emergency, returned to address the issue of the use of masks.
Ghebreyesus clarified how "there is no black and white answer" on the use of masks but certainly "masks alone cannot stop the Coronavirus pandemic" especially in overcrowded and waterless areas, in countries where other measures, like washing your hands or keeping your distance, they are more difficult to apply due to the objective conditions of the places: lack of water or because you live in confined spaces.
WHO number one stressed that: "Countries must continue to find, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact. We encourage countries that are considering the general use of masks for the population to study their effectiveness , so that we can all learn. Most importantly, the masks should only be used as part of an overall package of interventions. "
Ghebreyesus then announced that the World Health Organization will disseminate guidelines and criteria to support countries in making a decision "on the generalized use of masks by the population." If the masks are worn - he explained - they must be used in safe and appropriate way. The WHO has indications on how to put them, take them out and keep them. What is clear is that there is limited research in this area. "
As for the use of health masks among the population, which in Italy, regions such as Lombardy and Tuscany have made mandatory to leave the house, Ghebreyesus warned: "Some countries are recommending and recommending the use of health masks to the population. Operators health must have priority . " In fact, there is "a global supply problem" and the use of health masks by the population "could aggravate the shortage" of these devices.
"In some places - stressed the WHO Director General - these deficiencies are really putting health workers at risk. In health facilities, the WHO continues to recommend the use of health masks, respirators and other personal protective equipment for health workers have priority. "
The WHO Director-General then said that around 20 companies and institutions are working at top speed to find a vaccine.
As for the African continent: "It will not become a testing ground for the vaccine," said Ghebreyesus criticizing the proposal of two French doctors a few days ago. "This colonialist mentality must end. It was horrible to hear such claims from scientists in the 21st century. WHO strongly condemns and ensures that this will never happen. Protocol will be applied and humans will be treated as human beings. We will follow same protocol all over the world ".