WHO recommends wearing a mask from the age of 12 in the same conditions as adults
Children over 12 years of age should wear the mask under the same conditions as adults to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, according to WHO recommendations released Friday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) convened an international and multidisciplinary group of experts to review the data on Covid-19 and its transmission in children, as well as the limited data available on the use of masks by children.
Based on this information and other factors such as children's psychosocial needs, as well as the different stages of their development, the world health authority published detailed recommendations for children by age group on Friday.
The WHO thus recommends "the use of the mask for children aged 12 and over in the same conditions as adults, particularly when they cannot guarantee a distance of at least one meter from others and if transmission is generalized in the area in question ".
Children under the age of 5 should not be required to wear a mask. "This indication is based on the safety and general interest of the child, and on their ability to use a mask correctly with minimal assistance," said the specialized UN agency.
For children aged 6 to 11 years, WHO recommends that the decision to use a mask be based on a number of factors, including the level of transmission of the virus in the area where the child resides and their ability to use a mask. mask correctly and safely.
Access to masks, as well as the ability to wash or replace them in certain settings such as schools, proper adult supervision, and instructions given to the child on how to use them should also be considered.
Other key factors for children ages 6 to 11 are the potential impact on learning and psychosocial development and the child's specific interactions with other people at high risk of developing a serious illness, such as the elderly and people with other pre-existing conditions.
More generally, the WHO emphasizes that the use of the mask in children of any age with developmental disabilities, disabilities or other specific health problems should not be mandatory and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
The WHO also points out that children should not wear a mask "when they practice sports or physical activity, such as running, jumping or playing on a playground, so that it does not interfere with their breathing", and asks to maintain a distance of at least one meter .
Regarding the type of mask, the WHO explains that children in good health can wear a non-medical or cloth mask, and emphasizes that the adult providing the mask must ensure that the cloth mask is the correct size and sufficiently covers the nose, mouth and chin.