Mon, 28 Sep 2020

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, told Swedish Radio (SR) on Tuesday that Sweden would not recommend the use of face masks as the agency was still waiting for more research results supporting the positive effect of face masks on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Tegnell made the remarks just one day after the Karolinska Institutet (KI) unveiled their findings that cloth face masks can reduce the COVID-19 spread, and recommended the use of face masks to contain the pandemic.

With regard to the KI study, Tegnell said it gave no new answers but only offered "a well-known knowledge."

On the contrary, Tegnell believed that the use of face masks can be counterproductive. "There are theoretical discussions that there is a risk that if you handle the face masks incorrectly, you can risk spreading the infection," he said.

When asked why most countries today recommend face masks, Tegnell told SR: "It is a question that you have to ask those countries, but at the same time we must remember that several of those countries have an increasing spread of infection today, so face masks can never be the whole solution, it can only be part of a solution."

Sweden has so far counted 5,747 deaths and 81,181 infections in a population of over 10 million. Sweden has neither imposed a lockdown -- even during the peak of the pandemic -- nor asked people to wear face masks in public, quoting a lack of support in research.

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