Following the Department of Health’s announcement confirming the first novel coronavirus patient in the country, many alarmed members of the public rushed to drugstores and retailers and emptied shelves of face masks.
The fear is understandable but certainly the panic is not.
In this geographically isolated island paradise, health officials and its partner agencies are implementing appropriate measures to ensure that no one carrying nCOv will enter Catanduanes through the regular commercial flights and the multiple daily ferry crossings.
Sure, the system now in place does not guarantee 100 percent that someone carrying the virus cannot pass through the screening procedures but at least it would allow the government to easily contain the patient and the persons he or she had contact with and prevent the virus’ spread.
In Singapore, the government has reminded the public that masks are not something that one can wear and automatically get protection against the Wuhan virus.
The tiny country’s Minister for National Development, Lawrence Wong, stressed that sometimes wearing a mask or wearing it wrongly can give one a false sense of security.
“Worse, if you wear it and you still use your hands to touch your face constantly, it doesn’t help at all because there is more likelihood that the virus can spread through contact and through your hands,” he said in a press conference.
As the Singapore Straits Times said in an article, masks are meant to be worn only by people who are unwell, as they are designed to prevent the passing of a virus from the wearer to other people, not the other way around.
They are not meant for healthy people doing their day-to-day chores, it stated.
Masks do not confer automatic protection against the virus and wearing a mask wrongly can render it ineffective or give users a false sense of security, the article underscored.
If anyone wants to wear a mask just the same, there are procedures that must be followed to ensure that you will be using it properly:
- Wash your hands with soap and water before touching the mask.
- Remove the mask from the box and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes.
- The metal band should be at the top.
- Place the loops behind your ears, or tie one set of bands behind your head and the other pair behind your neck.
- Pull the bottom of the mask under your chin towards your neck.
- With your ﬁngers, press the metal band so that it conforms to the bridge of your nose.
- Make sure there are no gaps between the mask and your face.
- Discard masks if wet or soiled. Do not wear one for more than 24 hours.
- Wash your hands after removing the mask.
What should be done next is to make sure one does common-sense prevention measures like frequent washing of hands, not touching one’s mouth and nose, avoiding sick people and eating properly cooked food.
After we have done all this, there is nothing more to do but pray to God that He continue to give us our daily breath.