The reason why masks are used in some countries and not in others

credit: third party image reference
Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the entire world has become accustomed to seeing people wearing masks through the streets of cities where this has never happened before. In some cities, the use of these masks has become so normalized that not wearing them implies social rejection, while in other cities it is still perfectly acceptable not to wear them when you leave the confinement in which millions of people are at the moment. 
According to the BBC, the reason why some countries have one point of view or another on this depends not only on government directives and medical advice but also on culture and history. credit: third party image reference
The World Health Organization only advises that those who are ill or show symptoms and those who have to be in contact with those infected by coronavirus carry it. For the rest of the population, its use is not necessary since it does not protect from the particles that transmit the virus and, also, it can generate a false sense of security. To avoid contagion, proper handwashing is much more effective. 
Despite this, in many areas of Asia, such as Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, masks are used by default since it is assumed that anyone can carry the virus. Such is the belief that, in some parts of China, citizens can be arrested for not using it. credit: third party image reference
People who do not wear masks in these places have also been stigmatized, to the point of not allowing them to enter stores and buildings. 
But in many Asian countries, the use of masks comes long before the coronavirus outbreak, either because of culture, because of high contamination, or because it is considered rude to sneeze or cough openly. Furthermore, the 2003 SARS virus outbreak led to its widespread use. 
Given the current scarcity of face masks on the market, governments like Singapore urge not to use them to ensure that those who need them have access to them. For example, in South Korea, they have already had to ration them. 
But more and more experts question the official advice of the WHO since, for example, many asymptomatic people are not aware that they are carriers of the virus and may have caused many of the infections. As in China, where an estimated one-third of all positive cases show no symptoms, according to classified Chinese government data seen by the South China Morning Post.

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