‘MaskUp’, we aren’t free from pandemic: UNICEF

Muscat: We are not completely free from COVID-19 and adherence to safety measures shouldn’t be given a go by, according to UNICEF.

A statement issued by the UN body office at the launch of regional campaign ‘MaskUp’, urged everyone to always remember to wear a mask in public and gatherings.

“COVID is still existing and we have to be careful. Don’t take things lightly. Continue wearing masks although it can become tiring and inconvenient. But this is the way to combat the COVID-19,” said Dr Mahmud Rahbi, Head of Emergency Department at Al Nahda Hospital.

To encourage people around the region to wear masks, UNICEF has launched a campaign featuring children and influencers to engage the public to wear masks and highlight how to properly use them and dispose of them safely.

ADVICE FOR FAMILIES:

The UNICEF regional office further said that one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads is through the respiratory droplets that people throw out when they talk, sing, cough or sneeze.

“We now realise that the virus can be spread by people without symptoms, which means that some people can be carriers of the infection without even realising it.”

Physical distancing is made mandatory due to this factor. Since we cannot be away from others for long, the masks come handy so that one can wear them and speak to others.

“However, mask alone cannot protect you from the spread of COVID-19 and we all need to continue to maintain physical distancing and wash our hands frequently. Through these combined steps, we can beat COVID-19,” the statement further said.

According to Dr Mizun Tufail al Rahman, Senior Consultant Family Physician, MoH, it’s too early to let go of the preventive measures against the pandemic as she advised the public to be extra cautious.

“As Oman started to show recovery from the first wave, it’s too early to celebrate and fly with wings. All worked hard, from decision-makers, frontline heroes to common people. It will be a big disaster to loosen up all the precautions and we know this from the experience of several countries. Until this point, there is neither effective treatment nor immunisation against this disease. The best way will still be prevention and prevention alone,” she said.

CHILDREN AND MASK:

Masks shouldn’t, however, be worn by anyone unable to remove it without assistance, including infants and young children, or anyone who has difficulty breathing.

UNICEF and the WHO recommend that children aged five years and under are not required to wear masks. This recommendation stems from the principle of achieving child safety, and those children may be distinguished in their stages of development within different age stages.

Families can click a photo or video while wearing a mask and send it to the UNICEF’s MENA social media platforms.