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Prague police now doing “mask checks”

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Police in Prague are working with the Ministry of Health on a system to identify the correct masks and protective equipment on citizens. 

As it stands, everyone either has to wear an FFP2 respirator or two surgical masks on all public transport areas, shops, and health care facilities.

However, identifying which masks are up to code, which means the police are mostly just focusing on whether someone has a mask at all, and it’s not just a scarf or piece of fabric.

The new measures require respirators that have a filtration efficiency of at least 95%. Currently though, there’s no method to confirm this. 

Irena Seifertová, a spokeswoman for the police, says the policemen will generally just be making sure the masks look visually legit. 

“The police are therefore going to be focusing on cases where respiratory protection is completely absent. In other cases, where there’s a reasonable effort to comply with the measures, they’ll only check that the protection at least visually meets the prescribed requirements.”

To try and keep costs down, the Czech government, led by finance minister Alena Schillerová, approved getting rid of VAT on all FFP2 respirators, but only till April 3rd. 

The double surgical mask idea, which was originally the idea of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA, has been criticised by many for not making sense. 

Vladimír Ždímal from the Academy of Sciences in the Czech Republic told iRozhlas that two masks just make things worse because they resist your breathing more, causing them to pulse in and out and making them vulnerable to cracks and leakage.

“With the second mask on top, it increases the resistance to breathing, which probably leads to an increase in the flow of air where there is no resistance. Adding this extra layer increases the likelihood of penetration through the cracks between the face and the mask.”

“I’m angry that they’re doing the two-mask thing here in the Czech Republic, it makes no sense at all.”

Featured image by mangopulp2008 via Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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