UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says children above 11-years should wear face masks wherever adults
wear them, such as in crowded settings, as a tool against COVID-19
The UN health and children’s agencies say in a guidance document for decision-makers that was
published Friday evening.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF did not generally recommend children between ages
six and 11 wear masks, but that they should be considered in areas with intense virus transmission or in
special settings such as schools.
However, there are situations when masks “can significantly interfere with the learning process and
have a negative impact on critical school activities,” said international experts who drafted the guidance.
Younger children should not be made to wear masks, mainly because they cannot put them on and off
correctly by themselves, according to the document.
The expert group said children up to five years old would need to be under constant supervision if they
did wear masks.
“Children should also be listened to regarding their perceptions and any concerns about wearing a
mask,” they said.
Transparent visors offer less protection than fabric mouth and nose coverings, according to the guidance
According to data from around the world, only around one to seven percent of all COVID-19 cases are
children and youths below age 18.
There are conflicting studies about whether infected children carry less, more or the same amount of
novel coronavirus compared to adults.