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Wed 29 Jan 2020 12:14 PM

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Face masks used to protect from the coronavirus are 'no use'

Finnish company Genano has already sent over 200 of its air decontamination units to hospitals in China

Face masks used to protect from the coronavirus are 'no use'

Schauman said the masks that are being deployed are not effective.

Face masks being worn to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are ‘of no use’, according to the Finnish company that played a leading role in fighting the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia.

Genano, which has had a base in the UAE for five years, has already sent over 200 of its air decontamination units to hospitals in China in a bid to bring the deadly coronavirus under control.

Mia Schauman, area manager, Gulf region, Genano, told Arabian Business: “We are manufacturing as many as we can at the moment. The factory at the moment is working 24/7, we are working at full capacity, manufacturing the Genano units and sending them to China.”

But Schauman said the masks that are being deployed are not effective.

“It’s no use, because the virus is smaller than the mask and will go through,” she said.

“The best mask that is available is a mask with a HEPA Filter and that will limit the size of microbes to 0.3, everything that is smaller than that will go through. The size of coronavirus is 0.1.”

The disease has spread to more than 15 countries since it emerged out of Wuhan late last year, with the death toll soaring to 132 and confirmed infections nearing 6,000. The UAE confirmed its first case on Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for Genano told Arabian Business: “We are in constant dialogue with the UAE Ministry of Health officials on the situation and of course are ready to help as much as we can.”

According to a recommendation from the World Health Organisation there should be one isolation room for every 20 beds in a hospital.

Asked what the current global situation is with regard to the number of isolation rooms in hospitals, Schauman said: “This is really in a big need. They really need more isolation rooms than we already have.”

Genano has extensive experience in delivering infection control solutions for cleanrooms and isolation rooms in hospitals.

Niklas Skogster, CEO of Genano, said: “When the MERS epidemic struck Saudi Arabia, hospitals were not ready for the large number of patients coming in. We delivered air decontamination units for hospitals in need of isolation rooms for infected patients.

“With the help of Genano Aid Decontamination Units, Saudi Arabian hospitals and other healthcare facilities were able to treat patients safely and without the risk of contamination.”

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