Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua

BHOPAL: Home-made washable masks can effectively protect the wearers from Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, says a circular issued by the state government here on Sunday.

These masks can be used by general public, policemen, security persons, sanitation workers and all others who are not directly engaged in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, said the circular issued by the Directorate of Health Services based on the parameters set by the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

The circular follows an advisory issued by the Government of India suggesting that persons who are not suffering from cough and cold or are not in contact with COVID-19 patients should also wear masks.

The circular says that while the disposable masks can offer up to 97% protection against viral infections, the home-made cotton masks can also afford around 70% protection. However, while the disposal masks have to be discarded after one use, the home-made ones can be re-used after washing.

The masks should be made with 100% cotton cloth, double-layered with recommended size of 9x7 inches for adult and 9x5 inches for child.

The masks should be properly cleaned before first use and the wearer should wash his hands before using them. The masks should not be used if wet. They should be properly cleaned before re-use.

How to clean masks before re-use:

* Wash with soap and water and dry in the sun for five hours.

* If sunlight is not available, boil in pressure cooker for 10 minutes on low pressure.

* If pressure cooker is not available, boil in water for 15 minutes.

* If neither pressure cooker nor facility for heating water is available, wash with soap and water and iron for five minutes.

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