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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson signals U-turn on face coverings in bid to get Brits back to work

The PM said: : "I do think face coverings will be useful.”

2 min read

Face coverings will be “useful” in helping to stop the spread of the coronavirus if lockdown restrictions are eased, Boris Johnson has said.

Ministers have so far shied away from recommending the use of masks or other cloth coverings during the pandemic, despite Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shifting her own Government’s advice on the issue in recent days.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove this week said he was concerned the public would be “cavalier” if told to wear coronavirus masks amid struggles in getting personal protective equipment to frontline health and social care staff during the pandemic.

Meanwhile government scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean said this week: "The recommendation from [government scientific advisory body] SAGE is completely clear, which is there is weak evidence of a small effect in which a face mask can prevent a source of infection going from somebody who is infected to the people around them."

But the Prime Minister, who has promised more guidance to businesses in the coming days about helping staff to return to work, said: "I do think face coverings will be useful.”

And Mr Johnson added: "What I think Sage [the government's scientific advisory group] is saying, what I certainly agree with, is that as part of coming out of the lockdown, I do think face coverings will be useful.

"Both for epidemiological reasons but, also, for giving people confidence that they can go back to work.

"You're going to be hearing more about that and that kind of thing next week."


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