Masks have been in hot demand lately. Countries like Singapore and Hong Kong and even Malaysia are facing shortages.
But while many have the energy to queue for hours on end for new masks, there are some who have been left behind. Especially the poor and elderly.
According to South China Morning Post, one single mother in Hong Kong, Alice Chan had reused her disposable mask for five days straight.
She revealed that she uses it on alternate sides every day and hangs it behind the door when not in use. She knew it “was not good practice”, but did not want to spend on “overpriced ones”.
Although Chan was given five new masks from a church, she said she would still continue to reuse each one until it was too dirty.
Another 79 yo man with existing medical conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, said he was too tired to queue for masks. Moreover, a box of 50 masks is selling at HK$200 (RM106). It’s too pricey for them.
Both elderly do not know how to buy masks online. So far, they only have 4 masks left. They also plan to “avoid all unnecessary outings”, perhaps out of fear of contracting the virus themselves outside of the home.
Some experts have panned such actions as reusing masks could increase the risk of infection. The masks can trap dirt and bacteria within, and once used, would be contaminated with the user’s secretions and saliva. The user could thus run the risk of self-inoculation.
Thus, World Health Organisation has also posted an advisory, encouraging people to discard single-use masks at the end of the day, or when it becomes damp and humid.
Source : SCMP