As the number of coronavirus infections is surging and more cantons are implementing stricter mask rules, tests show that only a small percentage of masks sold in Switzerland are resistant to the virus.
Out of 16 brands of masks analysed by laboratories in Zurich and Vienna, only four were shown to offer sufficient protection against the coronavirus.
The others, including all the fabric masks tested, have failed.
The criteria used to assess the masks’ effectiveness were set by Switzerland’s Covid-19 Task Force and include particle filtration and air permeability.
The results were reported this week on RTS public television, which requested the test for its weekly consumer affairs show.
The four masks which proved to be effective are Disposable Face Mask, available from Lidl; Coop’s PM-Plus Medical; Migros’ Medi-Inn; and JINGEAO sold in in SunStore pharmacies.
Their price varies from 62 to 82 cents a piece.
Recently, three other types of masks sold in Switzerland, the so-called KN-95, were also found to be ineffective and had subsequently been recalled.
How can you know which masks are most effective?
According to Covid-19 Task Force, “masks must offer a sufficient protection against liquid droplets of different sizes produced during coughing or sneezing, They should also have a sufficient air permeability to minimise breathing hindrance and different fitting sizes for adults and children to guarantee an adequate face coverage”.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has also published guidelines about the efficacy of various mask models currently available in Switzerland.
It also explains which types of face coverings should be avoided.
For instance, it says that “infected persons with or without symptoms should not use masks with a vent outlet as they do not filter air that is breathed out and so could lead to the virus spreading”.