The National Biosecurity Committee, headed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), has released the Unified National Guide for Personal Protective Equipment for Diseases and Pandemics as a reference on the proper use of protective masks and clothing. The Committee developed the publication in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), as per the statement.
The guide (only available in Arabic) describes the characteristics and protection levels of various types of masks – medical, surgical, paper, and cloth. The publication lists examples of activities during which people must wear masks, such as going to a store, pharmacy, or hospital, being in a park with friends or relatives who do not live in the same household, taking public transportation, or walking in a high-density public area.
The guide outlines the basic specifications of masks, such as being three-ply, disposable, anti-allergic, and latex- and fiberglass-free. It also determines the tests to which masks must be subjected to ensure their effectiveness, such as the Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) test, Particle Filtration Efficiency (PFE) test, breathing resistance test, and flammability test.
In addition, the publication explains the use of face shields. It recommends using them with masks, as they do not provide adequate protection from Covid-19 when worn alone. It states that face shields must be washed and disinfected using soap and sanitiser with at least 70 percent alcohol.
As per the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO), the guide highlights the importance of washing and sanitising hands regularly and practicing stringent social distancing to achieve higher personal protection against diseases and pandemics. It explains that scientific research has found that symptoms of respiratory illnesses develop on average five days after infection. Therefore, patients who reduce their interaction with others by 75 percent transmit the disease to 2.5 other people on average in 30 days, and those who reduce their interaction by 50 percent transmit the disease to 15 other people in 30 days. In contrast, patients who do not practice social distancing can infect as many as 406 people within the same period.