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Guidelines for the Public on Scientifically Wearing Masks

Promulgation Date: 2020-3-17
Title: Notice on the distribution of the "guideline for the public on scientific usage of masks"
Document Number:联防联控机制发〔2020〕33号
Expiration date: 
Promulgating Entities: 国务院应对新型冠状病毒肺炎疫情联防联控机制 
Source of text:

Scientific wearing of masks has a role in preventing respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and flu, by both protecting the health of the wearer and that of the general public. These guidelines are specially issued in the current situation of resisting the Covid-19 epidemic as a guide to the public in the scientific wearing of masks to effectively prevent and control the epidemic and protect the public's health.

1. The General Public

(1) At home, outdoors, in uncrowded places, and places with good air circulation

Recommended Protection: Do not wear masks.

(2) In places were people such as offices, shops, restaurants, meeting rooms and workshops; and when riding elevators or public transit and so forth.

Recommended Protection: In low to medium risk regions, carry spare masks (disposable medical masks or surgical masks), and wear a mask when closely interacting with others (less than 1 meter apart). In high-risk regions, wear a disposable medical mask.

(3) People who have cold symptoms such as coughing or sneezing

Recommended Protection: Wear a disposable medical mask or surgical mask.

(4) People who live with those in self-isolation or with discharged patients recovering at home

Recommended Protection: Wear a disposable medical mask or surgical mask.

2. Personnel in Specified Locations

(1) Personnel in crowded hospitals, bus stations, train stations, metro stations, airports, supermarkets, restaurants, public transportation and the entrances and exits of communities and workplaces.

Recommended Protection: In low to medium-risk regions, staff is to wear disposable medical masks or surgical masks. In high-risk regions, staff should wear surgical masks or respirators that meet the KN95/N95 rating.

(2) Personnel in prisons, senior care facilities, welfare homes, mental health facilities, as well as school classrooms, construction site dormitories, and other crowded places

Recommended Protection: In low to medium-risk regions, routinely carry spare masks (single-use medical masks or surgical masks) and wear a mask in crowded areas or when closely interacting with others (less than 1 meter apart). In high-risk regions, staff should wear surgical masks or respirators that meet the KN95/N95 rating. Others should wear disposable medical masks.

3. Key Personnel

Suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and asymptomatic carriers; those who have had close contact with COVID-19 patients; international [including Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao] arrivals (from the time of arrival through the end of the isolation period)

Recommended Protection: Wear surgical masks or valve-less respirators that meet the N95/KN95 rating.

4. Personnel with Occupational Exposure

(1) Medical workers in general clinics and wards; emergency department medical personnel for hospitals in low-risk regions; administrative management, policing, security and housekeeping personnel who are engaged in epidemic control and prevention.

Recommended Protection: Wear surgical masks.

(2) Staff in the wards with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and in ICUs; medical personnel at the fever clinics in designated medical establishments; medical personnel in the emergency department for medium and high-risk regions; personnel who conduct epidemiological investigations, laboratory testing, and environmental disinfection; staff who transport suspected and confirmed cases.

Recommended Protection: Wear medical respirators.

(3) Persons collecting respiratory track samples; and persons who perform tracheotomies, tracheal intubations, bronchoscopy, sputum suctioning, CPR, lung transplant or pathological autopsies on Covild-19 patients.

Recommended Protection: Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) with hoods (or full-facepiece), or half-face PAPR plus goggles or face shields. P100 filters should be used with both types of PAPR. Filters may not be reused, and the protective equipment is to be decontaminated before use.

5. Precautions for Use

(1) Wash hands before putting on or taking off respiratory protections including masks.

(2) When putting on masks pay attention to inside/outside and top/bottom orientation. The mask should cover both the nose and the mouth. Adjust the nose piece to fit the mask to the face.

(3) While wearing a mask, refrain from touching its inside or outside with hands; the ear straps should be used to remove the mask.

(4) Wearing multiple masks cannot effectively increase protection; to the contrary, it will increase resistance to breathing and possibly damage the seal.

(5) No method of cleaning or disinfecting masks has been shown to be effective.

(6) Disposable medical masks and surgical masks are for limited-use and the cumulative usage time should not exceed 8 hours. Use by those with occupational exposure is not to exceed 4 hours, and they must not be reused.


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