The World Health Organization (WHO) has changed its advice on face masks, saying they should be worn in public in places that have community transmission of COVID-19 to help stop its spread.

Iran Press/Europe: In its updated recommendations, announced on Friday, the global body said new information showed they could provide "a barrier for potentially infectious droplets."

Some countries around the world already recommend or mandate the wearing of face coverings in public.

The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead expert on COVID-19, told Reuters news agency the recommendation was for people to wear a "fabric mask - that is, a non-medical mask."

The organization had always advised that medical face masks should be worn by people who are sick and those caring for them.

Globally, there have been 6.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 400,000 deaths since the outbreak began late last year, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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