Sunita Patel-Carstairs::Masks should be mandatory indoors and outdoors where two-metre social distancing is not possible, doctors have said.
Publishing a wish list of recommendations for ministers, the British Medical Association (BMA) accused the government of “letting down its guard” and said “inconsistent” messaging since the nationwide lockdown was lifted had played a part in the resurgence of the virus.
“Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people.”
The BMA’s recommendations include:
The recommendations come as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to unveil a new three-tiered system of coronavirus restrictions on Monday (sky news).
The point about masks was backed by Professor Calum Semple, an expert in outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
He told “At the start of the outbreak, we didn’t really understand much about this virus and nobody else did, but we now appreciate the importance of face coverings and masks in an indoor environment, particularly where ventilation cannot be guaranteed.
“In reality, if you’re outside walking your dog on your own and you’re many metres away from other people then wearing a mask is making no difference.
“But if you’re in a city centre shopping precinct, or you’re queueing outside the shops then yes, you should be wearing a mask.”
Chairman of the doctors’ trade union body, Dr Nagpaul added: “The infection has risen following rapid relaxation of measures and with the Westminster government letting down its guard – as recently as August, the government was encouraging people to travel, go to work and mix in restaurants and pubs.
“With admissions to hospitals for COVID climbing rapidly in parts of England, there is an opportunity for the Westminster government to bring in simple stronger restrictions alongside the introduction of its… three-tiered approach.”
England is expected to be carved into three different lockdown tiers next week, with millions of people facing tougher restrictions as the government tries to get a handle on rising coronavirus cases and hospital admissions.
A total of 13,864 new coronavirus cases were reported in the UK on Friday, along with another 87 deaths.
The UK’s coronavirus reproduction (R) number fell slightly to between 1.2 and 1.5 – down from between 1.3 and 1.6 last week, according to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
However, SAGE said it was almost certain that the epidemic continues to grow exponentially across the country, and confident that the transmission is not slowing.