This document provides guidance to Member States on the effective use of face masks/coverings in the community by individuals without COVID-19 symptoms in order to reduce potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2.a It also provides advice on the use of masks during home care for patients with COVID-19.

According to current evidence, SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – is primarily transmitted from people
with the disease through respiratory droplets and contact routes. There are increasing indications that people with
asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or early stages of infection can contribute to community transmission of the virus.
The use of medical masks – in conjunction with hand hygiene – has been shown to prevent infection with respiratory
pathogens. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is found in significant numbers in the nose and throat of infected people and
is transmitted to susceptible contacts through microscopic droplets that enter through the nose, mouth and eyes. Consistent and widespread use of masks/face coverings helps reduce the spread of infection in the community by
minimizing shedding of respiratory droplets from infected people, including before symptoms develop and people
being aware they are infected.



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