WHO says that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask

Child with a face mask eats an ice cream outside the ice cream store on its first day of opening following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Xianning
A child with a face mask eats an ice cream outside the ice cream store on its first day of opening following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Xianning, Hubei province, China March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that children aged 12 and over should wear a mask, given that one metre distance cannot be guaranteed and that there is widespread transmission.

This is the first time that WHO has published guidelines on children wearing masks. However, it stated that more data needs to be gathered to determine children’s and adolescent’s role in the transmission of the virus.

Certain factors should be considered when it comes to children wearing masks, namely the transmission rate, if the children are capable of wearing a mask and adult supervision. Children aged 5 and under are not obliged to wear a mask.

Superintendent of Public Health Prof. Charmaine Gauci had said that children aged 3 and younger should not wear a mask as this may be harmful.

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WHO’s guidelines come as countries around the world are reopening schools. In the UK, schools are set to open in less than two weeks. Even though the British government has said that it is not recommended for primary and secondary school students to wear a mask, certain schools have made them obligatory.

Malta has not yet decided on whether schools will reopen in a month’s time, but it is preparing guidelines and setting protocols should this be the case.