Video Credit: AsiaWire
Chinese health officials are urging citizens to practice proper hygiene after videos emerged of desperate residents boiling and reusing their surgical masks because they are sold out everywhere.
Worrying clips on social media show surgical masks and even the higher-grade N95 variants being immersed in pots and pans filled with boiling water.
The masks are then hung up like washing and reused once dry.
According to reports, the shockingly risky practice greatly reduces the effectiveness of the masks, but Chinese residents hoping to avoid the deadly coronavirus say they have no other choice.
Despite reports claiming surgical mask manufacturers are working around the clock to meet the surge in demand, many pharmacies are still out of stock.
Mr Du, from the city of Lanzhou in north-western China’s Gansu Province, told local media: “It’s basically impossible to find a mask in a pharmacy now.
“They say the virus can be killed if boiled in 65 degree Celsius water for 30 minutes.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.
“Since surgical masks are for one-off use only, they may not be as effective after being boiled.
“But that’s still better than not wearing one.”
A spokeswoman for the Gansu Health Commission responded by saying the so-called disinfection method “does not work”.
She added: “We don’t advise reusing masks. Surgical masks especially should be discarded once every four hours.
“Even N95 masks should be changed once every four hours if you’re exposed to an infected environment for a long period of time.”
The Wuhan coronavirus has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,700 in mainland China, where more than 50 million residents in over a dozen cities are still on lockdown.
The ViralTab page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.