The global body said new information showed they could provide “a barrier for potentially infectious droplets”.
Some countries already recommend or mandate face coverings in public.
The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks.
However, WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that “in light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments”.
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Date: June 5, 2020
Source: BBC News