Leading professor asks the Netherlands to make face masks mandatory
Following an extensive study, a prominent science professor in the Netherlands is asking the Dutch government to make wearing face masks mandatory when indoors.
Dutch study into coronavirus and aerosols
The initial results of a study conducted at the University of Twente by leading professor and physicist Detlef Lohse suggest that aerosols play a larger role in the spread of the coronavirus than initially thought and that consequently, the wearing of face masks is vital when indoors.
Professor Lohse warned the RIVM in February of the role small droplets in the air play in the spread of the virus, and his current study aims to further investigate these aerosols to determine precisely how significant a role they play. In collaboration with the UMCG hospital in Groningen, Lohse is examining the lifespan of the tiny droplets, the amount of droplets that are needed to infect someone, and how much of the virus can be carried in these droplets.
This study is significantly more extensive than previous investigations carried out by the professor and his team, as it also looks at the behaviour of aerosols at different temperatures and different humidity levels. The study also examines the influence of (good) ventilation on the spread of aerosols in rooms.
Mandatory face masks when indoors in the Netherlands
The study has already determined that aerosols live 30 to 40 times longer than previously thought, and that they can travel further than 1,5 metres. Therefore, Lohse advises the government to make face masks mandatory, specifically when indoors, as soon as possible.
Lohse explains that the purpose of a face mask is primarily to limit aerosol emissions, and secondly to protect the wearer from these drops in the air. He would like to see people in the Netherlands wearing masks in indoor areas like bars and pubs, but also in football stadiums and churches.
The professor told the AD: “I do not understand why the Netherlands still has not made wearing face masks mandatory.” He fears what will happen as the country gets busier again and people congregate more in indoor spaces, especially as the weather changes and summer turns to autumn. Face masks have already been made mandatory when indoors in a number of European nations, including France, Germany, and England.
Kalverstraat asks Amsterdam to make face masks compulsory
AT5 reported on Tuesday, July 21, that many shopkeepers on the popular Amsterdam shopping street Kalverstraat were asking the municipality to tell shoppers to wear face masks when out and about. Shopkeepers and businesses owners have made this request in the hopes that face masks will limit the spread of the virus and the risk of an outbreak, and so their businesses will not be forced to closed.
Pauline Buurma, street manager of the Kalverstraat and Heiligeweg, told AT5: “We see in surrounding countries that everyone has [the face mask rule]. Tourists also ask us: 'Why shouldn't you wear a face mask in shops and shopping streets here? We are already used to doing it.”
The request comes after Amsterdam was hit by a flood of tourists over the weekend. The Kalverstraat implemented a one-way system to ensure shoppers could keep 1,5-metre distance, and parts of the Red Light District got so busy that the municipality of Amsterdam was forced to close it to the public.
The Beverwijk Bazaar located in the North Holland municipality of Beverwijk, announced on Wednesday, July 22, that starting this weekend face masks will be compulsory for all visitors. Event bosses said the rule was necessary as the Bazaar, a hall filled with a collection of shops, outlets and stalls with products from all parts of the world, continued to get busier.
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