Canada: Theresa Tam dvises use of ‘nonmedical’ masks as provinces reopen.

Public health officials are now advising Canadians to wear “nonmedical” masks or face coverings when they venture outside their homes as Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease.

“If you can’t predict whether you can maintain that two-meter distance, then it’s recommended that you wear that nonmedical mask or facial covering,” Dr. Theresa Tam said during her daily briefing on the pandemic.

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Tam said the Public Health Agency will make the new recommendations public Wednesday. She called the masks an “added layer of protection” that could help prevent asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic Covid-19 patients from unknowingly infecting others while out in public.

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The recommendation is not a mandate because some areas of Canada have not seen community transmission. Provinces and territories need the ability to conduct their own risk assessments based on the epidemiology present in their jurisdictions, Tam said.

Asked why masks weren’t promoted sooner even when they were required in other nations, Tam said public health measures like stay-at-home orders, quarantining, testing and contact tracing “effectively stopped and decelerated that epidemic wave.”

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Now that people will begin to move around in public, she said, “this is an added layer on top of that.”

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