Masks may help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by stopping the spread of respiratory droplets when people talk, sneeze or cough.

Surgical masks used by healthcare professionals are designed to protect both the wearer (Doctor, nurse, etc.) and the patient. N95 Mask used by healthcare professionals adds additional protection for the doctor or nurse using them.  Both kinds of masks are single-use and must not be used by the public as they are in short supply. Cloth masks are easy to make and are recommended for the public to use.   Another advantage of cloth masks is that they can be used multiple times and washed in-between use.

No, the 5 golden rules should be always be followed:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Do not touch your face with unwashed hands
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
  • Keep 1,5 metres apart from other people (social distancing)
  • Stay at home if you are unwell

Cloth masks can be used when you are out in public. Like when you are travelling to work on public transport or doing shopping.

  • No. There are specific recommendations for cloth masks so that they are most effective
    • The mask should have 3 layers
      • The outer two layers are best made from thick weave cotton, like denim, calico, upholstery fabric or Shweshwe
      • The inner layer is best made from soft cotton, to make the mask comfortable to wear
      • The mask should be easy to breathe through
      • Avoid T-shirt material
      • Use fabrics that can be washed in hot water and ironed
  • The mask should be a square shape with three pleats to help with the fit of the mask
  • The mask should cover from above the nose to below the chin and up to the ears
  • The mask should tie behind the head with ties from the top and bottom of the mask or elastic that hooks over the ears.

·       Before putting on the mask, wash or sanitize your hands, place the mask against your face making sure it covers your nose and mouth

·       When wearing the mask;

o   Do not touch your face 

o   Do not fiddle with the mask

o   Do not touch the mask with your hands

o   Remove the mask if it is damp or wet

·       When removing the mask

o   Only touch the straps to remove the mask away from your face

o   Put the mask in a container until you wash it or wash it immediately


o   Wash or sanitize your hands after removing the mask. 

No, you will need 2 masks so that you can wash one and wear one. Wash your mask daily with soap and hot water. The mask is best dried in the sun and ironed. Do not share your mask with anyone.

No, please discuss an appropriate mask with your doctor/healthcare provider for advice on the use of masks when caring for sick people.