Plastic visors that cover the entire face can still be worn as protective gear, despite reports outside the country alleging they may be infective in protecting against COVID-19.

Virologist Chris Barbara told Times of Malta on Tuesday the health authorities’ position on the wearing of visors remains the same – that these should be used in confined spaces such as shops and salons if masks are not used.

In recent days, the government in Switzerland said that its health officials had discovered a worrying trend linked to an increase in COVID-19 cases among those wearing the visor.

Swiss officials found that among a group of hotel workers, only those wearing visors were infected, while those in a mask did not test positive for the novel coronavirus.

It is always better to wear something, be it a mask or a visor, than nothing

Barbara said that although he was aware of the reports, scientific studies into the effectiveness of visors have yet to be carried out. It was only after these studies that the health authorities could say with certainty that the visors do not work, he said.

“We are aware that there are countries urging people not to make use of such visors, yes, but so far our position remains unchanged. In places where one should be donning protective gear, if the person does not wear a mask, a visor should be used,” Barbara said.

The virologist also confirmed talks with his European counterparts on the matter are ongoing, as attempts to understand the best way to stop the spread of the virus continue.

Barbara also acknowledged that some have expressed concern over the impact the use of such visors could have on the environment, as the amount of waste generated was bound to increase as a result.

“But at present, until we know more, it is always better to wear something, be it a mask or a visor, than nothing,” Barbara said.

Guidelines issued by both World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have so far remained unchanged, with both entities yet to comment on the Swiss officials’ findings.

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