Atmospheric dust levels were on Tuesday were expected to surpass maximum safety levels, prompting the Labour Ministry to warn vulnerable members of the public, including children and the elderly, to remain indoors.
According to an official announcement, measurements at 10am on Tuesday placed the level of PM10 Particulate Matter at between 58 micrograms (one-millionth of a gram) per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) and 107 µg/m3. PM10 particulate matter has diameters that are generally 10 micrometres and smaller and so are inhalable.
This indicates that the 24-hour average will surpass the permitted 50 µg/m3 maximum average defined by law.
“Because of the small size of the inhalable particulate matter and their potentially negative effect on human health, the general public and vulnerable groups in particular—children, the elderly and convalescing—are advised to avoid spending time outdoors until the phenomenon passes,” the Labour Ministry’s announcement said.
In a separate announcement, the Health Ministry called on people with respiratory, heart, kidney, and immune system deficiencies to take particular care, along with children, and those aged over 65.
The announcement said people with chronic respiratory problems should seek medical advice to find out if they should increase the dose of their medications and that anyone experiencing breaking problems should immediately see their doctor or go to the Casualty Department.
The ministry also advised people with severe difficulties to wear a surgical mask over their mouth when spending time outdoors but even members of the generally public were warned not to exercise outdoors until the dust subsides.