The wearing of home-made, non-medical face masks may help stop the spread of COVID-19.
That’s the latest advice from Canada’s top medical health official who has, for months, stopped short of offering such advice and even given information to the contrary.
Dr. Theresa Tam said Monday that, while people wearing such equipment won’t be protected from getting the virus, it may assist in stopping the virus from spreading to others.
She said the shift in policy comes from "emerging information" from the science and medical community around the globe.
Tam, however, warned against people going out and trying to buy official protective masks, adding that such PPE (personal protective equipment) must be reserved for frontline workers.
And she pleaded with Canadians to continue to practise social distancing, in tandem with the wearing of any protective gear.
“Wearing a non-medical mask is an additional measure that you can take to protect others around you," said Tam.
"A non-medical mask can reduce the chance of your respiratory droplets coming into contact with others or landing on surfaces."
Since January, Tam has said masks should be reserved for the sick and for the likes of doctors and nurses working in hospitals.
She said previously that wearing a mask could give people a "false sense of security" and, thus, deter them from practising safe social distancing.
Tam had also said before that masks don't protect the wearer's eyes and could encourage people to touch their faces more as they fidget with the mask.