After almost 5 months in lockdown, the President announced on Saturday that South Africa will move to a less restrictive lockdown, level 2. With nearly 600 000 cases of Covid-19 and a death toll over 11 000, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize claims “we are not out of the woods yet”.
It seems we may be over this peak by the end of August, Mkhize told a news conference last week that a second wave may still be a concern should our practices slack with the relax of the lockdown level. Still, hygiene, social distancing and use of masks should be prioritised to prevent a second surge of Covid-19 cases. While the Health Minister confirmed that the health care system had not yet been breached, it is currently showing signs of strain.
With the guidelines for level 2 of lockdown having been stipulated, the wearing of masks in public remains mandatory. We have all become accustomed to mask-wearing as a daily part of life by now, but it may only be dawning on us now that we’ll be wearing things on our faces for a long time. Experts have warned that masks may be part of our everyday attire for the foreseeable future. Trish Greenhalgh, a primary-care professor at the University of Oxford, advises that masks are worn in public up until there are very few, if any cases, a state which seems rather far into the future here in SA.
Although the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) declaration on mask-wearing was delayed, in June the WHO advised that the public should wear masks in confined or crowded environments but also that medical masks are the preferred choice of personal protective equipment for people over age 60 or those with preexisting conditions – a demographic that makes up a large amount of our population.
While the WHO has speculated Covid-19 is taking a different pathway in Africa due to the youth of Africa’s population, here in South Africa, a large amount of the population is burdened with disease including HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. This means that a large amount of the population is indeed plagued with preexisting conditions making them higher-risk for Covid-19.
With the realisation that such a large amount of our population can be deemed high-risk, wearing masks that provide high filtration and efficacy against particulate matter becomes of the utmost importance. Second to wearing a mask, wearing the right mask is essential. The difference between the variety of face masks available is the fabric used. While different masks offer different filtration efficiencies, those effective at filtering out infectious particulate matter up to 95% would be the 3-ply single-use face masks, and respirator face masks.
While business owners bring staff back to work and attempt to salvage lost profits, the risk of a second wave poses too much of a threat to our economy and thus business owners have to ensure health and safety for staff and customers.
Since mid-July, businesses have been legally obliged to ensure that anyone entering their premises or vehicle wear a mask. With the international supply of PPE at the moment, the prices of 3-ply single-use face masks have made them ideal to remain compliant with regulations while ensuring safety. Consisting of spun-bound and melt-blown polypropylene, these single-use disposable masks also offer the highest filtration, with an efficacy of up to 95% against particulate matter such as viruses & bacteria, making them ideal for protecting a vulnerable population such as ours.
With Syntech’s medical range including certified single-use 3-ply face masks, KN95 civilian respirators and other essential hygiene and personal protective equipment, you can ensure your business is prepared, keep your staff safe and remain compliant without losing potential customers.
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