The World Health Organization on Monday warned the public against buying medical-grade face masks in their attempts to prevent being infected with the new coronavirus, saying “shortages are putting health workers in real danger”.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said medical masks “must be prioritized for health workers on the frontlines of the response.”
Tedros’ comments came during the WHO’s regular news conference on the ongoing new coronavirus pandemic.
Also speaking during the conference was musician Lady Gaga, who said $35 million (US) had been raised for a WHO “solidarity response fund” to aid medical testing of the virus, and buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers.
The WHO’s solidarity response fund has received several donations from high-profile celebrities, with some even holding online concerts to raise money for the charity.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and could lead to death.