Are FFP Face Masks Mandatory?

This ongoing pandemic has increased the demand for masks.

This has led the mask and respirators manufacturers to produce and develop large quantities of specialized masks which can provide protection against even small airborne organisms.

Extra Protection

Despite continuous lockdown, the number of cases are still rising rapidly, this requires people to take extra precaution (wearing masks & practicing social distancing) while going out in public places or during travel.

Which FFP Masks are the Safest?

FFP masks are tight fitting face masks that seal to the face.

They have a filter device attached to them which helps filter various particles like aerosols, dusts and biological agents based on the types below.

  • FFP1 can efficiently filter 80% of aerosols (including water based mists and low level dust).
  • FFP2 can filter around 94% of aerosols (including oil, water based mists along with moderate level dust).
  • FFP3 filtering around 99% of aerosols (protecting against high level dust, asbestos and biological agents like bacteria and viruses)

Choosing which masks to wear depends on circumstances and the wearer.

Based on a review carried by HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and PHE (Public Health England), it has been advised that N95 and FFP2 gives equivalent protection against coronavirus provided that the wearer has passed the face fit test.

The WHO advised to use a risk based approach to assess the situation and make an informed decision.

Younger People are at Low Risk

A young healthy adult, in a Low Risk setting, that can maintain a safe distance and go to an area with potentially no close contact with people can use an FFP1, whereas a healthcare worker on the way to check patients in a ward environment should wear an FFP3 variant.

Protection in Health Care

In health care settings where there is a high risk of aerosol generating procedures (AGP) also requires to wear an FFP3 mask as recommended by UK government guidelines.

In case of unavailability of FFP3, FFP2 masks can be used.

Where to wear a Face Mask?

With a 5 tier lockdown in the UK, it is imperative to wear a face covering when using public transport, in shops, supermarkets, banks, airports and offices.

Travel with Masks

Under the recent COVID restrictions, all travel corridors are banned, and one shouldn't travel until it is absolutely necessary, following all the guidelines set by the UK government.

European Countries like Austria, and in Germany states like Bavaria are introducing rules which will mandate all people in public spaces must wear FFP2 masks fitted to their face.

This law is in force because of a higher number of cases and deaths being reported throughout the world and because the virus is becoming more contagious, with more new variants being discovered.

Research by the Lancet University has concluded that respirators are more effective in reducing the risk of transmission on SARS-COV-2 viruses compared to surgical masks.

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