Listen: ‘Wearing a mask does not ensure protection’

FILE PHOTO: Tourists from an Air China flight from Beijing wear protective masks as they arrive at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France, January 26, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

‘A mask used in a hospital environment, is completely different to when a mask is used outside,’ Dr Charles Mallia Azzopardi explained. He highlighted that when used in a hospital environment, there are different patients are being treated and receiving care.

He added that masks used in a hospital setting have been studied and tested to be used in hospital. There are no studies which show that wearing a mask outside of hospital is effective, Dr Mallia Azzopardi noted.

The doctor explained that when one has some symptoms and wear a mask this will help against the spreading of germs. However, there were no studies which proved it to be effective the wearing of masks to protect oneself outside of a hospital setting.

Dr Mallia Azzopardi added that it was very likely that those wearing masks are doing so without any benefit. “How long will you wear a mask? If it gets wet will you change it?” he asked.

Referring back to studies he reiterated that in a hospital setting wearing masks is beneficial to the person however, outside of hospital there was no such study and therefore could not back up any claims.

Dr Charles Mallia Azzopardi explained that the coronavirus are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Speaking to, Dr Mallia Azzopardi explained that the coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. For the novel coronavirus, while it was initially thought that they were transmitted from bats to humans, it is now suspected that there is an intermediary animal. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals which have not infected humans.