Face shield in public transport – why scarves and shawls are no longer suitable

At the beginning of May, it was determined that a mouth and nose cover would have to be worn on public transport – “it could be a scarf, a scarf, it could be a mask sewn at home or a mask of a product bought,” said at the time prime minister Krišjānis Kariņš (JV). On the other hand, the changes in government regulations on October 13 stipulate that the mouth and nose cover is a medical or non-medical or hygienic face mask or visor or shield.

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Already reported that this week changes accepted by the government The regulations “Epidemiological safety measures to limit the spread of Covid-19 infection” stipulate that mouth and nose masks are mandatory in public transport until 6 November. A protective mask is not mandatory for children under 13 years of age. An exception is also people who have a protective mask difficult wear for health reasons.

Passengers can currently not use face masks get off the vehicle, but a scarf and shawl as a face shield no longer an “effective tool”to limit the spread of Covid-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. Minister of Health Ilze Ņķele (A / P) previously stated that covering the face with a scarf or shawl is not effective, therefore there is a requirement to wear medical or hygienic masks, as well as face shields in public transport.

The Ministry of Health (MoE) told the Delfi portal that the World Health Organization’s recommendations set out the conditions that must be met by mouth and nose pads. The face shield must fit snugly on the face and can be easily replaced if it is dirty or dirty without contaminating the hands.

The cover must be made of a material that can be washed at 60 degrees to eliminate possible contamination by micro-organisms and must provide adequate respiratory droplet retention while ensuring free breathing.

Such conditions cannot be provided by scarves, handkerchiefs or other adapted covers, as they do not fit snugly on the face, cannot be easily replaced without contaminating the hands, and cannot always be washed at 60 degrees and, depending on the materials from which the scarves are normally made. and handkerchiefs, they do not provide adequate airway retention.

Medical face masks that are certified fully comply with these conditions. Also, the necessary protection can be provided by the use of properly made non-medical masks made of at least three layers of suitable material (cotton, nylon, etc.) and with ties to secure it behind the ears or to tie it behind the head. Also, if necessary, if face masks are not available, you can use face shields, emphasizes the ministry.

To 13. The Saeima Yulia Stephanenko, a Member of Parliament, who officially gave a question to MEPs on 15 October and shared this week on social networks pointing out that the availability of face masks on the market is also wider than it was in the spring.

“Delfi” has already written that at the beginning of this year, when the rapid spread of Covid-19 infection was announced in the world, the Latvian authorities reassured that the country is possible ready to spread the virus, but later it turned out that even basic necessities – personal protective equipment – stocks are insufficient, so they were quickly made purchases of masks and respirators, but the conformity of the goods subsequently delivered requirements was questioned.

Ministry of Health in collaboration with Traffic the Ministry and the Secretariat of the Crisis Management Council have given an answer to the question of the 13th Saeima deputies in connection with the use of mouth and nose masks in public transport, in which the deputies had asked to explain whether a person can currently use such objects in public transport On precautionary measures in public transport “, issued on the basis of a government order of 12 March declaring a state of emergency, which expired on 10 June.

In response to a question, the reply states that “scarves and shawls are no longer allowed to be used as mouth and nose pads because, unlike the situation this spring, studies are already available which show that scarves and shawls are not effective because the fabric is often is that which does not sufficiently retain the airway droplets released from the mouth and nose. Also, scarves and shawls do not fit snugly on the face, so their use was rather an ineffective measure “.

“If a disposable mask has to be discarded after use and a hygienic mask has to be washed after use and can then be re-used, if a person has used a scarf or shawl as a mouth and nose cover, it still stays around the neck together after covering the mouth and nose. with a potentially secreted virus “, the letter states.

The reply states that the respirators are intended for professional use to protect the user from inhalation of various droplets and small particles, while the masks are used to limit the transfer of respiratory drops / aerosols to other people and are mainly intended to protect bystanders. .

The use of face masks in public transport and other public places indoors, where it is not possible to keep a distance of two meters, is fully supported.

“Currently, in contrast to the situation in the spring, face masks are more available to the public. Surveys by the Consumer Protection Center show that there is a wide range of hygiene face masks available on the market,” the reply said.

It is also indicated that no administrative liability has been established for non-compliance with the rules for wearing a face mask or for non-compliance with the face mask.

Although work is currently underway to provide for administrative liability in the legislation on non-compliance with the rules on wearing a face fee, the determination of administrative liability for non-compliance with the face mask is not envisaged.

Agency LETA reports that Ministry of Justice (TM) could complete work next week on amendments to the law that would penalize residents for not using masks in public places.

TM Deputy State Secretary Laila Medina told LETA that TM had prepared several versions of the Covid-19 Infection Spread Management Law on the punishment of individuals for not using masks in public places. It is envisaged that the institution responsible for imposing penalties would be the police.

Given that the Inter-Institutional Coordination Steering Group was not familiar with the TM proposal, the Ministry did not mention any possible penalties at present.

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