People in England are now being advised to wear face coverings on public transport to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, the government has said.
A new document outlining new coronavirus lockdown rules suggests face coverings for enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible. People are also allowed to meet one person from another household outside.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday a “conditional plan” to begin lifting England’s coronavirus lockdown.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own powers over the lockdown and have not lifted measures to the same extent.
What is the advice?
The Department of Health and Social Care has released the following advice for the public to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, following easing of few lockdown measures:
- People who use public transport or visit shops should consider covering their mouth and nose.
- Face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing which remain the most important actions.
- Public urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, but instead make their own face coverings at home.
A statement on the government website says: “Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms. People with coronavirus symptoms, as well as members of their household, should continue to follow the advice to self isolate.
“They may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow maintain social distancing measures. This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.
“Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms. People with coronavirus symptoms, as well as members of their household, should continue to follow the advice to self isolate.
“They may be beneficial in places where it is hard to follow maintain social distancing measures. This applies when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops.”
‘Where social distancing is impossible’
Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “At all times our strategy for keeping the public and the NHS safe during this crisis has been guided by the science.
“Today, thanks to the evidence provided by our expert scientists, we are advising people to consider wearing a face covering if they can in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is impossible, for example on public transport or in shops. This may help prevent you spreading the virus to others.
“You do not need a clinical mask which are prioritised for our healthcare workers. Instead a face covering is sufficient and we encourage people to make these at home with items they will already own.”
Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer said: “Wearing a face covering is an added precaution, that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on.
“The most effective means of preventing the spread of this virus remains following social distancing rules and washing your hands regularly. It does not remove the need to self-isolate if you have symptoms.”
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