The Union health ministry has warned all states against use of N95 masks with valved respirator, saying these can be detrimental as the valves do not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask.
The ministry has prescribed the use of home-made protective cover described on the website of the ministry.
Prof (Dr) Rajiv Garg, director general of health services, issued the directive in a letter to the health secretaries of all states on Monday.
“It has been observed that there is an inappropriate use of the N95 mask (particularly with valved respirator) by the public other than designated health workers. In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the advisory on the use of home-made protective cover for face and mouth available on the website of the MoHFW,” the letter says.
“It is to bring to your knowledge that the use of valved respirator N95 masks is detrimental to the measures adopted for preventing the spread of the coronavirus as it does not prevent the virus from escaping out of the mask,” the letter says.
The advisory has asked the states to prevent inappropriate use of N95 masks.
The government had in April issued an advisory on the use of home-made protective cover for face and mouth, asking people to wear it, particularly when they step out of their residences.
The advisory stressed such face covers must be washed and cleaned each day, as instructed, and stated that any used cotton cloth can be used to make this face cover.
It also listed the procedures of making such home-made masks, asking to ensure it fits the face well and there are no gaps on the sides.