Global news on the use of masks during COVID-19

The novel Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and changed life as we know it. It has become the personal responsibility of individuals to “do their bit” and stay home, stay protected and help the less fortunate in their communities. But what does this mean?

With the intensity and influx of information that has developed as a result of COVID-19, there are various suggestions on what constitutes best practices. One of these suggestions is the use of a face mask. 

Here are a few resources to stay up-to-date on how a mask can be of value during the pandemic. Make sure to keep checking in as the list is constantly updated. 

South Africa

Closer to home, South African medical professionals and politicians are implementing and suggesting various strategies to keep our nation safe from infection. 

Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize

Tuesday, 31 March 2020 

During an update on COVID-19, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize stresses the importance of wearing a face mask. He highlights that the virus is not airborne, but spreads via droplets. 

"There is no question about the fact that masks are one of the best ways of preventing the spread of infection." 

Various sources, here is enca


Doctors and professionals from around the world are sharing messages about the value and advantages of using a mask. 

Dr Alfred Wong Yam Hong - Cardiologist at Tuen Mun Hospital in Hong Kong

22 March 2020

Speaking to DW News, Dr Alfred Hong shares the importance of ‘universal masking’ as Hong Kong experiences their second wave of COVID-19. 

“Everyone is talking about hand hygiene. That is, of course, one of the most important things. And secondly, the practice here in Hong Kong is what we call universal masking. We wear masks whether we feel unwell or not. The virus has a rather long incubation period and the manifestation of being infected by this virus is of a big variety.”

Watch the full video here.

#Masks4All Campaign - Professionals from the Czech Republic

March 2020

A group of medical professionals from the Czech Republic have combined their efforts to share a message to the world about the importance of wearing a face mask. They explain how doing so has helped slow down the spread in the Czech Republic.

“Based on recent data, we know that population-wide use of masks is essential for the suppression of the outbreak.” Vojtech Petracek, Particle Physicist, President of the Czech Technical University. 

Visit Masks4All

Jeremy Howard, Co-Founder of Fast AI

25 March 2020

Commenting on the Czech’s #Masks4All initiative, Jeremy Howard is joined by Rachel Thomas as they dive into the value of masks during the global crisis. 

“In S Korea, Japan, and Taiwan, there is no lock-down. Yet COVID-19 is being controlled in these countries. How has this happened? One of the key reasons is that mask-wearing in public is ubiquitous and socially expected.”

Watch the full video here.


4 April 2020

BBC reported that the White House is considering advising all Americans to wear masks. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now considering updating its information. New York residents have been told to wear masks.

Watch the video here

Various News Media: NY Times, Fox 8 and CNN

02 April 2020

Various American news broadcasters and media outlets have published news President Trump’s administration is moving towards promoting broader use of face masks. 

“The Trump administration is formalizing new guidance to recommend that many, if not almost all, Americans wear face coverings when leaving home, in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.”

Read the articles here:

ABC News

31 March 2020

Australian ABC News discusses the COVID-19 experience in Singapore, documenting the importance of personal responsibility to protect yourself and protect others.

Singapore is considered a success story in the first wave of infection, they are now facing a second wave of imported infection.

Watch the video clip here.

Informative and Interesting Pieces

The following are informative and interesting pieces about mask-wearing, the cultural difference in mask acceptance, making masks, wearing masks, and what’s happening in other countries.

Fox News Channel

28 March 2020

A US pillow manufacturer has turned his factory from pillow production to face mask production. The “MyPillow” founder shifts 75 percent of production to face masks as the coronavirus crisis strains supply of personal protective equipment.

Watch the video here.

South China Morning Post

31 March 2020

This is an interesting biographical piece that talks about the cultural differences around wearing masks. 

“Anyone who has been following closely the development of the pandemic would not fail to have noticed different scenes in the West and the East.”

Read the full article here.

Q2Han - Korean Vloggers

26 March 2020

The pair of Korean vloggers share insight about mask use and the purchase of masks in Korea. They share how one can only buy two masks per person a week and the disposable types cost $1.22 (R22.82) each. They also take the viewer along when they go out to purchase masks.

Watch the video here (8:28 to 13:34).

Time Magazine (Online)

12 March 2020

An exploration of how cultural differences can impact the reception of choosing to wear masks. Particularly, why wearing a face mask is encouraged in Asia but shunned in the U.S.

“While wearing a mask has become the norm in many places in Asia, the mask frenzy has hit nowhere as hard as Hong Kong. At the height of COVID-19 panic, residents lined up overnight outside drugstores to buy face masks. South Korea, Singapore and Japan have distributed face masks to residents. Taiwan and Thailand have banned the export of masks to meet soaring local demand.

Yet, in the U.S., wearing a face mask when healthy has become discouraged to the point of becoming socially unacceptable. The U.S. government, in line with World Health Organization recommendations, says only those who are sick, or their caregivers, should wear masks.”

View the article here. 

Read more on the topic, presented by BBC, here.

Patrick Poon (Online)

2 March 2020

This is a clip about how to sterilize your used single use paper/polypropylene masks. The narrator Patrick Poon is a HK product designer. 

View the clip here