Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is insisting that cloth face masks can provide a level of protection against the Omicron variant – provided they’re worn correctly. Dr Supakit Sirilak was responding to a statement from the Covid-19 Information Centre which cited data from Dr Leana Wen at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.
Wen, who is a medical doctor and professor of health policy and management at the university, says cloth masks are all but useless against the highly-contagious variant. She recommends people wear 3-layer medical face masks instead. But Thailand’s Health Ministry disagrees.
According to a Thai PBS World report, Supakit says cloth masks can protect against the highly-contagious variant, provided they’re worn properly and are made of muslin. He says many types of fabric have undergone testing at the Medical Sciences and Health Services departments and muslin comes out on top for protection. Supakit says this is because muslin can prevent droplets passing through and is reusable.
“The Omicron (variant) is not smaller than the other variants and it does not just hang in the air. It is emitted in coughs and sneezes in the form of droplets, at a size of between 5 – 6 microns.”
However, Supakit points out that in order to be effective, cloth masks must be worn correctly and cover both the nose and mouth.
In Thailand it remains a rule to wear a mask when in public places at all times.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World