Experts also say that surgical masks are better at protection from the virus than a cloth mask. So while fashionable masks are a quirky accessory, buyers may want to reconsider if the cloth mask is worth the cost, when a simple surgical mask would do a better job.
According to a study on the effectiveness of cloth masks versus medical masks, the infection rate was the highest in cloth masks compared to any other medical masks. If a cloth mask is being worn, it should be washed frequently to keep them clean.
However, washable cloth masks if properly made are more environment-friendly and unlike disposable ones, will not add to Kathmandu’s already choked garbage landfill sites.
Cotton Mill Nepal, which was producing high-end household linen items is offering a family pack of colourful face masks in three sizes for the whole family. The masks can be ordered online through daraz.com.
Similarly, Kokroma which makes baby clothing and accessories for export and the home market, is now also making cloth masks. Although the WHO does not say babies need to wear masks, some parents do not want to take risk. Kokroma employs seamstresses who work from home, and besides baby items they can also turn out customised branded masks.
Another social entrepreneurship company, Sabah Nepal, which has a network of 3,000 home-based women members all over the country to develop craft and food-based products, has been contracted by UNDP Nepal to make 40,000 cloth masks. The arrangement provides income for the women as well as produce protective item that is in short supply.