Canada’s best doctor and Minister of Health say they will wear masks if physical distance is not possible

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OTTAWA –
Canada’s top health authorities say they will follow their own advice and wear non-surgical face masks in public places where it is not possible to maintain a distance of two meters between people.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer, said it was one of many measures she would take to protect those nearby.

“Recognize that in reality the evidence is not quite there, but it is an additional layer of prevention and protection against spreading to others. “

In recent days, Tam has reinforced advice from the United States Centers for Disease Control that wearing a non-surgical mask in public could prevent the spread of COVID-19 among those who are asymptomatic or presymptomatic. The recommendation states that in cases where it is not possible to adhere to the rules of physical distance, the evidence shows that cloth masks are useful – not necessarily for people wearing a mask but for those around them.

“It’s not necessarily there to protect me,” said Tam. “I think I have to undergo this reality check and the fact that I still have to wash my hands and still go the distance as much as possible. “

Health Minister Patty Hajdu agreed.

“I would not hesitate to wear this, with the leadership of Dr Tam in terms of how to do it properly and being very aware that it would be a new experience for me,” she said. “I didn’t wear one and I would probably feel like I wanted to play the violin. “

Tam said on Monday that daily household items such as cotton shirts, sheets or bandanas would be enough to make a homemade mask.

“We’re also going to tell people things they shouldn’t be using as well and our engineers are looking at the evidence about them. But I think these are simple things that are not complicated and, preferably, no sewing is required, “said Tam on the government’s next steps.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his daily press conference also tried to highlight the benefits of wearing a mask.

“If people want to wear a mask, it’s OK. It protects others more than it protects you because it prevents you from breathing or speaking with moisture, “he said.

Health officials continue to remind Canadians not to use surgical masks or N95, which should only be used by healthcare workers.

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