Following Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize’s call last week that everyone should wear a cloth mask, the newly former Business for SA (B4SA) organisation has added their voice to the call, reminding South Africans that all medical-grade masks must be reserved for frontline health care workers
To date, B4SA has procured PPE worth R400 million, and has pipeline funding for a further R360 million. Stock procured to date includes: 900 000 sterile gloves, 20 000 face shields, 1.12 million N95 masks for frontline medical staff, 6 million surgical masks for health care workers, 8.5 million surgical masks for patients and 200 ventilators.
The team’s current focus is to secure the country’s PPE stock for the next 6-8 weeks, and monthly thereafter.
“Well-made cloth masks do not replace the 5 Golden Rules of Good Hygiene. They may offer some extra protection, if well-made and used correctly.”
Follow the 5 Golden Rules of Good Hygiene to stop the spread of coronavirus:
1. Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
2. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.
3. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Safely throw away the tissue.
4. Observe physical distancing – keep 1,5 metres apart from others.
5. Stay home if unwell. Contact a hotline or your health care worker.
Use a cloth mask if you come into contact with people
– Using public transport.
– Attending essential services.
When putting on the mask:
– Wash your hands first.
– Place the inside of a clean mask against your face.
– Cover your nose and mouth.
– Make sure it fits well, don’t touch the cloth part.
While wearing the mask:
– Do NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE or fiddle with the mask.
– Remove the mask if it is wet.
When taking off the mask:
– Touch only the straps. NEVER touch the inside of the mask.
– Keep it in a container until you wash it.
– Wash your hands, with soap and water or hand sanitiser, after taking it off.
Caring for your masks:
– Have at a minimum two masks so that you always have a clean one ready.
– Do not share masks with other people.
– Wash the mask with soap and hot water.
– Dry the mask in the sun and iron it to disinfect it.
A good cloth mask:
Has three layers:
– Outer layers (faces towards other people): made from thick weave cotton like denim, calico, upholstery fabric or shweshwe. Must be water repellent, easy to clean and be quick drying.
– Inner layer (sits against the face): Can be made with the same material as the outer layer. Both polyester or nylon fabrics are preferred. Cotton can be used but this fabric can be highly water absorbent and become wet against skin.
– Middle/Filter layer: using the same fabric as inner/outer layer or fabric that is used in lining of suit jackets or formal coats.
– Avoid T-shirt material.
– Use fabrics that can be washed in hot water and ironed.
– Use Cloth/Fabrics that do NOT inhibit breathing.
– Is square with 3 pleats to fit well.
– Covers from above the nose to below the chin and up to the ears.
– Has straps that tie behind the head.
Advice for parents: When toddlers and children wear masks
– Adults must always assist, toddlers and children to put on a mask.
– Follow the rule of always washing hands when touching masks.
– Ensure that toddlers and children are under adult supervision when wearing a cloth mask.
– Ensure that children and teenagers are informed on caring, use, and precautions of using a cloth mask.