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Dr. Tam recommends wearing masks when physical distancing not possible

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Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau, health officials on new recommendations for wearing non-medical masks

The Government of Canada's Special Advisory Committee on COVID-19, expressly states that non-medical masks or cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment and indicates that while the supply of medical masks should be reserved for healthcare settings, there may be some non-healthcare work settings where medical masks are more appropriate than non-medical masks.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he has started wearing a mask in public in situations where he could be in close proximity to people.

"We also recommend that you plan your trips so you make sure you know exactly what you want in the grocery stores so you limit you time wearing the mask", she said.

Quebec's director of national health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, was also cool to the idea of widespread, non-medical mask usage through March and most of April.

"I think we all need to adjust to what works in our circumstances and keep safety at the forefront of what we're doing", he said.

"Wearing masks means breathing hot and humid air, so that can trigger asthma symptoms", she said.

The prime minister said that increased contact tracing is just one of the key benchmarks needed to be met in order to reopen safely.

The prime minister said he wears a mask while walking through the halls of Parliament but that when he sits down to debate, the two-metre distance between him and other MPs is reestablished and he removes the mask.

"We really rely on facial expression as a form of communication, so the masks are a barrier in making those connections in the community".

A discarded face mask is shown on a street next to a mobile COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, May 17, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.

Trudeau said the government is now working with "number of different partners" on potential contact tracing and exposure notification applications, and that in the coming weeks Ottawa intends to "recommend strongly to Canadians a particular app that will help us manage the spread of COVID-19".

Several countries, including Spain, have made wearing masks compulsory in cases where the two-metre physical distancing rule can't be observed.

Lukacs said the law requires airlines to refund customers, adding that fares may well go up in the coming year, reducing the value of travel credit. It's now looking at helping the private sector "get the equipment that they need and ensuring, of course, all the while that we're protecting the needs of our front-line workers". "It is not a recommendation, it is a permissive use, if you will". There were also fears that wearing masks would prompt people to touch their faces more often and stay apart from others less often. As officials learned more about asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers and their potential role in transmission, the advice on masks changed.

"Be very aware of those with different types of cognitive, intellectual disabilities, those who are hearing impaired and others", Tam said.

Tam said accessibility is one of the considerations regarding mandatory mask use, because not everyone can wear a mask.

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