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Scarves and bandanas banned as face-covering options in the battle against corona

Members of the public are asked not to use scarves or bandanas any longer as a face-covering in the battle against Covid-19. The Risk Assessment Group (RAG) which analyses the coronavirus threat in Belgium, had issued an advice against this type of face-covering, and this has been followed by the Health Institute Sciensano. Employees are also asked to wear a mouth mask at the workplace, even when a distance of 1.5 metres can be respected. 

Scarves and bandanas or kerchiefs had been tolerated so far as an alternative for those who didn't have a classic surgical mask or one in cloth or material with them. 

However, the RAG has issued a new advice after new and more infectious variants of coronavirus emerged, and after stricter guidelines had been announced in countries such as Germany and Austria. Alternatives for classic types of mouth masks such as scarves or bandanas will no longer do from now on. 

Earlier, Belgian hospitals had also banned masks in cloth, arguing that these may not have been washed properly, and may carry bacteria or viruses. In hospitals, disposable surgical masks have to be worn.  

At their Tuesday press conference, Sciensano experts also urged employees to wear a mouth mask at work even when social distancing is being respected. Those rules had already been introduced by various companies. "This is epecially useful in rooms where we stay for a longer spell of time, where a lot of talking is being done and where there are questions about air circulation." 

AFP or licensors

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