Children from 12 years old should wear a face mask in the same conditions as adults in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended on Friday.
The recommendation applies, in particular, if it is not possible to respect the social distance of at least 1 metre (in Belgium, the recommended distance is 1.5 metres) and there is widespread transmission in the area.
For children between 6 and 11 years of age, a decision on whether or not a mask should be worn, must be based on a series of factors, such as the speed at which the virus spreads in the child’s living area and the child’s ability to safely and appropriately use a mask.
Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks, according to the WHO’s recommendation.
In Belgium, wearing a face mask in certain circumstances was already mandatory for children starting from 12 years old, such as on public transport, in shops and at school.
However, only wearing a mask is insufficient to stop the spread of the virus, and keeping a distance and creating enough space is also necessary.
Additionally, the WHO hopes that the Covid-19 will be over “in less than two years,” which is shorter than the Spanish flu in 1918.
“Certainly if we pool our efforts […] and make maximum use of the available resources, we also hope to have additional resources such as vaccines,” said WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference.