WHO says children aged 12 and older should wear masks as adults

PHILO PHOTO: A boy wearing a protective face mask plays in a fountain after local authorities imposed lockdown restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, in Moscow, Russia June 12, 2020. REUTERS / Evgenia Novozhenina

ZURICH (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) says children aged 12 and over should wear masks to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic under the same conditions as adults, while children between the ages of six and 11 should wear them a risk-based approach.

Children aged 12 and over should especially wear a mask if a distance of one meter from others cannot be guaranteed and there is widespread transmission in the area, the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said in a document. on the WHO website dated 21 Aug.

Whether children should wear masks between six and 11 depends on a number of factors, including the intensity of transmission in the area, the child’s ability to use the mask, access to masks and adequate adult supervision, the two organizations said. .

The potential impact on learning and psychosocial development, and the interactions the child has with people at high risk of developing serious illness, should also play a role.

Children aged five and under would not be required to wear masks based on the safety and general interest of the child, the WHO and UNICEF said.

Studies suggest that older children potentially play an more active role in the transmission of the new coronavirus than younger children, the WHO and UNICEF said, adding more data was needed to improve the role of children and adolescents in transmitting the virus. to understand what causes COVID -19.

The WHO advised people to first wear 5 masks in public to help reduce the spread of the disease, but had not previously issued specific guidance for children.

More than 23 million people worldwide have been reported to be infected with the coronavirus worldwide since it was first identified in China and 798,997 have died, according to a Reuters census.

Report by Silke Koltrowitz, Additional Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Edited by Mark Potter

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