GENEVA, April 6 (Xinhua) -- World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said here on Monday that the WHO has been evaluating the use of medical and non-medical masks for COVID-19 more widely, and it will issue guidance and criteria to support countries in making that decision.
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we recognize that individuals and governments want to do everything they can to protect themselves and others. So do we," he said at a virtual press conference.
Saying that in the community, the WHO already recommended the use of medical masks by people who are sick and those who are caring for a sick person at home, Tedros told reporters that if masks are worn, they must be used safely and properly.
Most importantly, he stressed, masks should be used as part of a comprehensive package of interventions, like keeping distance, cleaning hands and avoiding touching face.
The WHO head also highlighted that medical masks must be prioritized for health workers on the front lines of the response.
"We know medical masks can help to protect health workers, but they're in short supply globally," he said, adding that the mass use of medical masks by the general population could exacerbate the shortage.