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Children aged 12 and older should wear masks, says WHO

This is the first time WHO has issued specific guidance for children

August 23, 2020 / 12:47 PM IST

Representative Image (Image: Shome Basu)

Children aged 12 and older should wear masks like adults while those aged 6-11 should wear them on a “risk-based approach”, the World Health Organisation has said.

Risk-based approach includes considerations such as intensity of transmission in the area, the child's ability to use masks, access to masks, adequate adult supervision, potential impact on learning and psycho-social development and interactions with people at high risk of developing serious illness, the organisation said in a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) document uploaded on August 21.

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This will help tackle spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it stated, adding that studies showed that older children play a potentially more active role in transmission of the virus. It did however acknowledge that “more data was needed to better understand the role of children and adolescents.”

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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The recommendation further states that children aged 12 and above should “particularly wear a mask when a one-metre distance from others cannot be guaranteed and there is widespread transmission in the area” and that children under 5 years of age should not be required to wear masks for “safety and overall interest of the child.”

Also Read | India’s COVID-19 vaccine may be available by end of 2020: Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

This is the first time WHO has issued specific guidance for children. It had started advising people to wear masks in public on June 5 to help reduce the spread of the disease.

So far, India has recorded 3,044,940 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 56,706 deaths. Globally, there have been over 2.30 crore confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 7.98 lakh people have died so far.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 23, 2020 11:24 am

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