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Facebook to advise use of masks amid latest virus spike

"Facebook is reminding people to wear masks when in contact with others as part of the effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak - Angela Weiss / ©AFP"
"Facebook is reminding people to wear masks when in contact with others as part of the effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak - Angela Weiss / ©AFP"

(AFP)

Facebook said Thursday it would offer reminders to its users to wear protective masks, responding to the latest surge in US coronavirus cases, which has sparked renewed fears on containing the pandemic.

The social network giant said it would include the alerts at the top of feeds of Facebook and Instagram, starting in the United States with plans to expand in the future.

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“With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the US, we’re putting an alert at the top of Facebook and Instagram to remind everyone to wear face coverings,” the company said in a statement.

Facebook will also include additional prevention tips and links to public health agencies in its COVID-19 Information Center.  

The move comes amid a rift in some parts of the United States on the need to wear masks, with some Americans rejecting the face coverings as government intrusion.

President Donald Trump, who has yet to be seen in public wearing a face mask during the crisis, said this week he would have “no problem” doing so under certain circumstances.

“If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business, as many US states reported a surge in the number of cases.

Heath experts expressed alarm last month when Trump held a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, without requiring attendees to wear masks.

Eight members of his campaign staff working at that event tested positive for the virus.

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