Push for increased use of face coverings by public

A template, accompanied by a step-by-step video, for a cloth mask, have been devised

A drive for the increased the use of face coverings by the public got underway this morning with a campaign launch by Taoiseach, Dr Leo Varadkar, while the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has urged the public to use face coverings when out shopping and using public transport.

“While full scientific evidence is not yet available on the efficacy of face coverings, we are encouraging people to use them when possible, as they are another barrier against transmission of the virus,” said Dr Nuala O’Connor, ICGP Clinical Lead on Covid-19 and Infection Control.

“We are recommending that as people start moving out more, that they wear face coverings on public transport and in retail settings,” she added.
College President Dr Mary Favier also advised people who were not registered with a general practitioner in their area to do so now. “These include people who have recently arrived in this country or have moved to a new area,” she said.

Meanwhile, clinicians in Donegal and Galway writing in the Irish Journal of Medical Science have devised a template, accompanied by a step-by-step video, for a cloth mask, which they say, “is reproducible around the world and is both washable and cheap”.

Their article, ‘A cloth mask for under-resourced healthcare settings’, describes a simple way to make a cloth mask, suitable if medical masks are not available.

“We would not advocate its use in preference over proven medical masks that have been rigidly tested, rather as a last but important option, in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, and is consistent with the application of the precautionary principle,” they add.

Face masks are only a part of the overall approach, but together with personal distancing, hand hygiene and other measures form a bundle which may overcome this disease. The protection conferred by face masks appeared stable over time and was not dependent on activity, states the article.

The authors are Mr Michael Sugrue, Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH), Mr Manvydas Varzgalis, LUH, Prof Derek O’Keeffe, Mr Ryan Sugrue, Galway University Hospital and Lorraine McClean, owner of The Zip Yard with acknowledgements to Seamus Hughes Letterkenny and Marite Vilcane dressmaker.

valerie.ryan@imt.ie

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