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Coronavirus: US health official urges people to stop buying face masks

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Photo: AFP

A US health official on Saturday urged the public to stop buying face masks to prevent catching the novel coronavirus stating that they will not help against the spread of the virus.

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” the surgeon general, Jerome Adams, said in a tweet on. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus, but if health care providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Prices of face masks have surged online as people have rushed to buy amid the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

Price of surgical masks skyrocketed in Karachi earlier this week after two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Pakistan. A day earlier, authorities recovered more than 70,000 surgical masks from the metropolis.

In another tweet, Adams said the best way to protect against the virus is to wash hands regularly, and for those who are feeling ill to stay home.

Face masks should be worn by those showing COVID-19 symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention in its guidelines has recommended facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.

“The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings. The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19,” it added.

First death in US

The US on Saturday reported its first fatality from the novel coronavirus. Health officials said the man who died in Washington state was one of a handful with no known links to global hot zones to have contracted the virus — indicating that the pathogen was now likely spreading in communities.

Health officials said the man who died in Washington state was one of a handful with no known links to global hot zones to have contracted the virus — indicating that the pathogen was now likely spreading in communities.

The death occurred in King County, the most populous in the state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people, officials told AFP.

The victim was in his 50s and had “underlying health conditions,” said Jeff Duchin, public health officer for Seattle and King County.

Worldwide, the virus has hit about 60 countries across the globe, with more than 2,900 people killed and over 85,000 infected since it was first detected at an animal market in Wuhan late last year.

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