Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Release Date:
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 - 6:49pm

Residents are urged to wear cloth face masks in public settings to stop and suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the British Virgin Islands.

The Center for Disease Control recommends cloth face masks for use by the  public where physical distancing maybe a challenge such as the grocery store  as other surgical masks and n-95 respirators continue to be critical supplies in caring for patients with COVID-19.

Cloth face masks can be made from common materials at a low cost at home or can be purchased from local businesses. They should not be placed on young children under two years of age and should not be worn by persons who are having trouble breathing, unconscious or who cannot have it removed without assistance.

Cloth face coverings should fit snugly but comfortably against the sides of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, allow for breathing without restriction and be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.

The following are the best techniques on how put on, use and remove a face mask:

  1. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean hands with 60 percent or higher alcohol-based sanitiser before putting on a mask.
  2. Use straps to tie or loop mask behind head or ears to completely cover mouth and nose.
  3. Make sure there are no gaps between face and mask by using fingers to press to shape the nose.
  4. Do not touch the front of the mask and if you do, clean your hands with 60 percent alcohol-based sanitiser or soap and water.
  5. Remove the mask from behind the straps and do not re-use single use masks.
  6. Cloth masks should be washed depending on the frequency of use with soap and warm water. A machine wash should suffice. Surgical masks should not be re-used.

The public is reminded that wearing a face mask paired along frequent hand-washing, cough and sneeze etiquette, avoiding contact with visibly sick people, social distancing of 6 feet or more, avoiding mass gatherings or just staying at home will all further reduce the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Author

Adrianna J. Soverall

Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
Email:    asoverall@gov.vg