Fact Check: Old WHO guidelines on masks being shared as recent even as multiple advisories have been issued post this

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A picture of World Health Organisation guidelines on face masks is doing rounds on social media claiming that masks should be used by healthcare workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms like fever and cough.

Other similar posts can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.


NewsMobile fact-checked the above post and found it to be misleading.
With the help of keyword ‘WHO advisory on masks’, we found an overview of the document that provides advice on the use of masks in communities, during home care, and in health care settings in areas that have reported cases of COVID-19.
It is intended for individuals in the community, public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, health care managers, health care workers (HCWs), and community health workers.

Several other advisories for the public on when and how to use masks in COVID-19 is posted on WHO.
On digging further, we found an article on BBC dated June 26, 2020, claiming that the World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying masked should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Further, we also found an article on vox.com dated June 6, 2020, which also spells out the new guidelines issued by WHO, which recommends general public to wear cloth masks made from at least three-layer of fabric ‘on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environment’.
An old advisory similar to the social media posts about the use of the mask for healthcare workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms like fever and cough was found on February 5, 2020.
In conclusion, the picture of WHO guidelines on masks viral on social media is old and has been updated according to the present-day circumstances.

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