The World Health Organization has recommended that children aged 12 and above should wear masks like adults, Reuters reported on Sunday. On the other hand, children between six and 11 years of age should wear them using a risk-based approach, the world health body said.

In an August 21 document, WHO and UNICEF said that children above the age of 12 should wear a mask particularly when a distance of over one metre with another person cannot be ensured and there is widespread transmission in the area. On the other hand, the intensity of transmission in the area, the child’s ability to use the mask, access to masks and adequate adult supervision should determine whether children between age six and 12 should wear a mask.

The WHO guidelines said that children who are five years of age or under need not wear a mask.

These recommendations have been made based on studies that showed that older children potentially play a more active role in transmission of the coronavirus than younger kids. However, WHO and UNICEF said more data was necessary to understand the role of children and adolescents in spreading the contagion. Previously, the WHO had not issued any specific guidelines for children.

WHO also issued guidelines for teachers, BBC reported. It said: “In areas where there is widespread transmission, all adults under the age of 60 and who are in general good health should wear fabric masks when they cannot guarantee at least a one-metre distance from others. This is particularly important for adults working with children who may have close contact with children and one another.”

In India, wearing masks has been made compulsory in public. Earlier this month, France made it mandatory for all children above the age of 11 to wear masks in public.

Globally, over 2.3 crore cases of the coronavirus have been reported, and over 8 lakh people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 1.5 crore individuals have recovered from the virus.