People living in areas with COVID-19 spread should wear masks in shops, workplaces and schools if ventilation is not adequate, the WHO said in new advice

Amid Covid-19 pandemic people living in areas with COVID-19 spread should wear masks in shops, workplaces and schools if ventilation is not adequate, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in new advice issued on Wednesday.

“The use of masks is part of a comprehensive package of the prevention and control measures that can limit the spread of certain respiratory viral diseases, including COVID-19,” WHO had earlier stated.

Health workers could wear N95 masks if available when caring for COVID-19 patients, but the only proven protection is when they are doing aerosol-generating procedures, the UN agency said, updating its previous guidance of June.

World leaders, the top leadership of the UN and vaccine developers will address a two-day, special session of the UN General Assembly on COVID-19 this week and discuss the pandemic’s impact as well as the multi-faceted, coordinated response required to address the greatest global health crisis in decades.

WHO’s announcement came at a time when the novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 64 million people and killed over 1.4 million across the world.

To contain the spread of the virus, the world is on its way to prepare for a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible.

The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, paving the way for mass vaccinations against the deadly novel coronavirus from as early as next week.

Around 50 hospitals are on standby and vaccination centres in venues such as conference centres are being set up now, with military personnel being deployed to assist with the logistics.

The joint vaccine, produced by American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech, had recently claimed trials suggested it works well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities.

The approval also marks the first time a vaccine based on messenger RNA has reached the market. The new technology essentially transforms the body’s cells into tiny vaccine-making machines, instructing cells to make copies of the coronavirus spike protein, which stimulates the production of protective antibodies.

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot dashed to the head of the queue after delays to the trials of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which has also shown promising signs in preliminary results of broad studies. The U.K. partners have faced questions after acknowledging that a lower dosage level that appeared more effective resulted from a manufacturing discrepancy.