French Experts Warn Against Handmade Facemasks

Facemask made from kitenge or other cloth fabric may not guard you against the new variant of Covid-19 virus.

France’s High Council of Public Health (HCSP) has implicitly advised against certain fabric masks that don’t properly filter the virus that causes Covid-19.

The French body said handmade cloth masks filtered only around 70 percent of particles, and recommended the government promote reusable category 1 fabric masks, which filter more than 90 percent, as well as surgical masks, considered to be even more effective.

“With the arrival in Europe of certain new variants of Covid-19, the question presents itself as to what category of mask should be offered to the general population,” declared Didier Lepelletier, an official from the HCSP, earlier this week on BFMTV.

The new recommendations were drawn up last weekend at the request of the Ministry of Health, but it remains unclear whether the ministry will implement them and the exact content of the recommendations remains unknown.

Franck Chauvin, president of the HCSP, said: “I cannot tell you when our position will be made public,” indicating only that it was “among the measures being taken with regard to the new variants”.

Fabric masks were introduced at the end of March as a consumer alternative to medical masks (surgical or FFP2 masks) which were in extremely short supply.

The French government then did an about turn after having initially insisted that that masks were useless for the general population.

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