The director-general of Health asked today for "a lot of discipline not to put your hands in your face" when wearing a mask.
Graça Freitas explained that social masks must be certified, as the ability to filter the Covid-19 virus depends on it.
“I leave here a great appeal: if and when they wear a mask, people must be very disciplined not to get their hands in their faces. The natural tendency to touch the mask ends up taking its effectiveness, because the virus passes to the hands and from the hands to surfaces», warned Graça Freitas at the daily press conference of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS).
The official also asked that, in the case of the so-called social or community masks, made of fabric, the certified ones be used, proof that they were manufactured "in accordance with good practices" and that they use material capable of "filtering particles".
“It's important that people wear these. The objective of the mask is not to let virus particles escape to the outside», he stressed.
Graça Freitas also noted that, as with other textiles, the manufacturer's instructions must be observed.
In this case, he noted, it is necessary to understand whether the mask is “single use” or “reusable” and, if so, under what circumstances.
"This has to be strictly followed," he warned. The person in charge also asked for discipline to "put on and adjust well" the mask to the face. In this way, it helps to avoid “the natural temptation to touch your face” to touch the mask.
“We have to learn how to do it because we don't have a tradition of using it”, he said.
As for the recommendation to use the so-called community masks, Graça Freitas explained that Portugal waited for the indication of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control [ECDC].
«We awaited the recommendation with complete tranquility, as we were already in confinement. We follow ECDC rules, which pointed to the appearance of a new class of masks», said Graça Freitas.
Before, he added, there was only an indication of “two types of protection” – surgical masks and filtering protection masks.
"It was then that the indications of the so-called social, community or third-level masks came out," he justified.