Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe has emphasised that the public need not wear face masks when going about day-to-day tasks- in a set of guidelines issued to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) today. In the document, the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Ministry has recommended face masks for specific groups. This includes COVID-19 suspects and those that are close to them, as well as health professionals taking care of the patients. Those with respiratory symptoms are also advised to wear a face mask when going to a hospital. The Health Services Director General requested that the Police not cause any member of the public harm for not wearing a mask as it is entirely up to a healthy individual to wear a face mask.
While the public need not wear face masks when going about day-to-day tasks, the reasons behind this advisory are that incorrect use and disposal of masks can help spread the virus and that the masks people have at hand should be kept for use during an emergency.
Dr. Jasinghe has also outlined ways in which people can minimise the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and these include maintaining a minimum distance of one metre between people, washing hands with soap for 20 minutes on a regular basis, not touching eyes, nose, and mouth when one’s hands are dirty, and covering one’s nose and mouth with the inside of the elbow when sneezing or coughing.