Face masks could become compulsory in shops after Matt Hancock called them ‘important part of our armoury’
FACE masks could become compulsory in shops after Matt Hancock dubbed them an “important part of our armoury”.
The Health Secretary said he would be reviewing the wearing of face coverings in crowded places indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus.
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People could be forced to wear masks in shops to stop the killer bug spreading[/caption]
He said: “The use of face coverings that are not formal face masks is valuable especially in some circumstances and therefore it’s mandated on public transport and it has been long recommended in some shops.”
A Department of Health source said that while Mr Hancock was not planning on issuing any immediate guidelines on wearing face masks in shops, the issue was being kept under constant review.
It comes after the president of the Royal Society slammed the government for its confusing message on the use of face masks and coverings in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At present, people in the UK have been urged to wear a face mask or covering when using public transport.
This is while people have also been advised to wear masks when in supermarkets.
Venki Ramakrishnan said other countries have managed to implement the use of face masks into their daily lives so there was no reason why the UK should not have implemented a more stringent policy.
He said not wearing a mask should be seen as a social taboo and added that the message from the government had “not been clear enough”.
COVER IT UP
“Perhaps people do not really understand the benefits or are not convinced of them. Whatever the reasons, we need to overcome our reservations and wear face coverings whenever we are around others in public.
“It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts.
“Today, both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way.”
He said the use of masks lowers the chance of future surge and lockdowns which are “economically and psychologically disruptive”.
If you’re in a crowded setting, you ought to wear a mask
Prof RamakrishnanRoyal Society
His comments come after new research was released that detailed the effectiveness of the use of face masks and coverings.
One study, by the Data Evaluation and Learning for Viral Epidemics (DELVE) group said masks could reduce the risk of transmission and can also provide benefits to those who wear them.
While another paper from the Royal Society’s Science in Emergencies Tasking Covid-19 group, highlighted how behind the UK was compared to other countries.
It claims that in April the uptake of people wearing a mask in the UK was 25 per cent.
It claimed that countries such as Italy had a 83.4 per cent uptick, while the US had 65.8 per cent and Spain had 63.8 per cent.
Prof Ramakrishnan said masks need to be treated like any other item of clothing and added that we need to get used to wearing them.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, he added: “I think what we would like for the Government is to be a bit stronger and clearer about the messaging and require it whenever you are in crowded public spaces where you cannot get more than two metres away from the next person.
“If you’re in a crowded setting, you ought to wear a mask.”
He said “outdoors was less of a problem” for transmission and that mask-wearing was largely required in indoor settings.
Charities have also warned that there are exemptions to the rules and said that not everyone is physically able to wear a mask or covering.
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The government previously released guides on how to make coverings at home from old t-shirts.
Downing Street stressed the need for people to wear face coverings properly, covering both the nose and mouth and a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said a wider roll out is “always under review”
“We have been very clear about the benefits of people wearing face coverings.
“Face coverings can help us protect others and reduce the spread of the virus if people are infected but not showing symptoms.”
Highlighting the correct way to wear a mask they added: “Covid-19 is a respiratory disease. If someone has the virus, droplets can leave the nose and month and infect others when someone breathes, speaks, sneezes, laughs or coughs.
“Therefore, a face covering should cover both the nose and mouth to reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets, helping to protect others.”
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