(Photo: CHINA DAILY)
As the novel coronavirus pandemic seems to be largely under control in the country and temperatures are on the rise with summer arriving, many are wondering if they could stop wearing face masks.
On Sunday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention answered that question, saying that there is no need for people to wear face masks if there is good ventilation and people are practicing social distancing. The center listed the kinds of places where people could take off their masks: parks, streets, playgrounds and other low-risk areas that have not reported new infections in the recent past.
It also specified three scenarios where people should wear masks－when visiting crowded public places such as buses or elevators, when one is sick, or when visiting hospitals.
Without doubt, face masks have played a significant role in our fight against the novel coronavirus. In January, when the situation was grave, people across China began wearing masks overnight. That, combined with other measures, helped stop the novel coronavirus from spreading further.
Some argue, therefore, that we must guard against the possibility of the epidemic making a comeback, as the risk of imported cases remains high. Of course, it pays to be alert, but face masks are not the only shield against the epidemic's spread. In early January the CDC prescribed several other measures for everyone to follow, such as washing hands frequently, sterilizing daily items after touching, and maintaining social distancing. The authorities also curbed population flow and imposed lockdowns in key regions.
One reason why everybody is focusing on masks now is that they are ubiquitous, and the easiest way to confirm one is guarding against the spread of the virus. However, unless one is in a high-risk area or a crowded public space, one can choose to wear or not wear a mask, while banking on sanitizers, hand-washing and social distancing to still protect the people.