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Korea rolls out face masks for summer heat

(123rf)
(123rf)

A new type of face mask designed to be more breathable than the N95 or KF94 respirators while shielding the wearer from respiratory droplets -- through which the spread of the novel coronavirus can occur -- has been launched in South Korea.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety fast-tracked approval for the masks, which function much like surgical masks, earlier this month for summertime usage by healthy individuals in nonrisky settings.

A Drug Safety Ministry official told The Korea Herald the new masks were intended for general purposes, and that those at increased risk of catching or transmitting the virus were still advised to wear the medical masks to protect against infections.

For instance, at-risk groups and people working with vulnerable populations such as nursing home staffers should wear the KF80 or KF94 masks, he said, stressing that the newly introduced masks do not filter out airborne particles.

“We hope the lighter and less-tight-fitting masks will be an option for people to adhere to coronavirus precautions in the warming weather,” he said.

The masks, dubbed KF-AD, became available for purchase online starting Friday.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com)
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