Face masks: what you need to know

It is compulsory to wear a face mask when out in public.

It is now compulsory to wear masks in public to fight the spread of Covid-19, but there are things you need to know before you put one on.

According to national Department of Health acting director general Dr Anban Pillay, the masks help to stop the spread of respiratory droplets from infected people.

However, it’s important for everyone to wear masks because some people with the virus may not know they are infected.

The guideline is that cloth masks should have three layers, but if you only have a cloth mask with one layer, it is still better than nothing.The mask must cover the nose and mouth completely and not be lowered when speaking, coughing or sneezing. The Department of Health has issued guidelines for using masks:

1. Only use a mask that has been washed and ironed.

2. Wash your hands before putting the mask on.

3. Place the mask with the correct side facing your face and ensure that it covers both your nose and mouth properly.

4. Tie the strings behind your head, or if you are using elastic bands, make sure these are tight.

5. Make sure it fits well. Move it around to get the best fit. Never touch the cloth part.

6. Once you have put on the mask, do not touch your face again until you take it off.

7. When you take it off, undo the ties, and carefully fold the mask inside out. Hold it by the strings/elastic and place the mask in a container reserved for washing the cloth mask.

8. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry before doing anything else.

9. Wash cloth masks with warm soapy water and iron when dry.

10. You must have at least two cloth masks per person so you will be able to wash one and have a clean one ready for use.

11. Masks should be washed with soap and hot water, rinsed thoroughly and ironed.