Government must give face masks to all key workers and public should cover faces, medical association warns

THE GOVERNMENT must give face masks to all key workers and public should cover their faces, a medical association has warned.

In a huge intervention, the British Medical Association claimed “emerging evidence” shows that covering mouths and noses may help slow the spread of coronavirus.

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The BMA are now calling for all essential workers to be given protective masks to help keep the nation safe.

BMA Council Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: “The BMA believes that essential workers, outside the NHS, such as transport workers, shopkeepers, carers or supermarket staff who cannot social distance, should now be provided with masks or suitable face coverings.

“This is in addition to rigorous infection control measures.

“Common sense tells you that a barrier between people must offer a level of protection, however small.

“The Government must pursue all avenues of reducing the spread of infection. This includes asking the public to wear face coverings to cover mouths and noses when people leave home for essential reasons.

"Until sufficient supplies of PPE are provided, including the essential availability of face masks for health and care staff, this may mean initially wearing cloth masks and scarves."

The leading doctors union recommendation applies to all essential workers, including "transport workers, shopkeepers, carers or supermarket staff who cannot social distance".

They cited "emerging evidence" that covering mouths and noses "may help" to control the spread.

The Government is expected to recommend the use of scarves or other makeshift face coverings after research by SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies).

Ministers are expected to study the findings over the next few days before making the decision public and changing official guidance.

It's believed that the experts think face coverings won't help stop Brits from catching the virus themselves, but could help in stopping them spread it to others.

A Whitehall source told The Sun: "No decision is going to be made which would take medical masks away from the NHS.

"Everybody is very clear on that."

However, there are fears that changing advice on masks may mean sick Brits venture outside instead of staying isolated in their homes.

The source said: "Experts are clear that this is not substitution for isolation.

"If people have any symptoms, they must stay at home."

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