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COVID-19 mask debate: people from across the globe share their views

Rarely has an accessory been adopted so quickly on a global scale — face masks have become a must for billions as many governments move to make them mandatory in the fight against COVID-19.

While many see wearing a mouth and nose covering as an action for the common good, some are resistant, as many find them inconvenient, believe they are ineffective or even harmful.

The views of those who find mask necessary and their opponents, collected from across the globe, reveal the different aspects of this debate.

Ilaria Virginia, Italy

Ilaria Virginia Infelisi, a notary from Rome, says she has strict in her workplace regarding face masks: "I ask everyone to wear one when drafting contracts, even if there is a lot of space and everything is disinfected after each meeting.

"We ask people politely. I believe wearing a mask is a sign of courtesy and mutual respect."

Estelle Fitz from the UK

London resident, Estelle Fitz, thinks that everybody should wear a mask for the safety of others.

"You have to think about other people," she said.

Tatyana Khryupina, Russia

Tatiana Khryupina from Moscow says she does not believe face masks are effective.

“It has minimal use (wearing a mask) and it is definitely not what you should start with,” she told The Associated Press.

Vladimir Ignatyev, Russia

Vladimir Ignatyev, 73, also from Moscow, does not agree with Tatyana. For him, wearing a protective face mask is not just about his safety, but also about the safety of others.

“You want to treat people as you’d want to be treated – so you’ve got to wear one,” he said.

Rana Hijazi, Jerusalem

Rana Hijazi from Jerusalem says all people should wear masks because "it is very important for their health and for the survival of all humanity".

Emmanuelle Prevot, France

Emmanuelle Prevot, an art restorer from Paris, explained that she does not always wear a mask while working with chemicals, because it is not always practical. Yet, she said that she does cover her mouth and nose in public areas so as not to worry other people.

Dalila Kopp, Brazil

"Those wearing them (masks) will be breathing their own carbon gas in a very high quantity. It will be a long cycle of breathing that same gas in and out," Dalila Kopp, a writer from Rio de Janeiro, told The Associated Press.

She added she knew a person that was involved in a car accident that she believes happened because they were wearing a mask.

Steve Rouse, United Kingdom

Steve Rouse from London thinks that everybody should have been wearing masks for the four months prior to his interview in July.

"If you are wondering if it has any protective value, if I tried to spit through this mask it wouldn't get very far, so its a no brainer," he told The Associated Press.

Paul Tomo, United Kingdom

Paul Tomo, also from London, does not share Steve's opinion on masks.

"If we really needed them, why weren't they introduced in the beginning? They gave a deadline before they implemented it.

"This gives a clear indication to question what you are being told because its clearly for control purposes, not for your protection whatsoever," he said.

Hikari Tsunashima, Japan

Hikari Tsunashima from Tokyo thinks people should wear masks as much as they can: "People should wear a mask properly as a precaution," she said.

Mohammad Karbalaei, Iran

Mohammad from Tehran explained that there was no special reason why he was not wearing a mask at the Grand Bazaar, adding that he had a relaxed attitude towards the pandemic.

"Ever since they said the coronavirus had come to the country I haven't taken care and I never got infected,” he said.

Reyhane Rajaei, Iran

Reyhane, also from Teheran, sees the situation differently. She explained that her grandmother died from the new coronavirus and some members of her family also caught it.

"I try to wear a face mask so that I won't catch it at least and also to avoid putting others in danger," she said.

Wasim Abbas, Pakistan

Wasim Abbas lives in rural Pakistan where, he says, a lot of people are still not convinced that coronavirus is real.

He says that masks are also an unaffordable luxury for those in extreme poverty. "Some people are poor. They have not been given masks," he told Associated Press.

Poo Alejandro Padrun, Cuba

Poo Alejandro from Havana wears a mask and says he asks others to put one on too. "We have to take care of ourselves," he said.

Peda Tuazon, Philippines

Peda Tuazon works as a fruit vendor in Manila. She is determined to convince others to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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