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Britons should wear cloth face coverings in public, health experts tell government
There is an “urgent need” for Britons to wear cloth face coverings in public places to fight the spread of coronavirus, a group of health experts has warned.
In an open letter to the government, more than 20 public health specialists and academics said the measure would be one of the “simplest, cheapest and most positive” ways to protect people from COVID-19.
It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backed calls for the government to formally recommend people wear face masks on transport and in workplaces where social distancing is difficult.
London mayor Sadiq Khan had previously said he wants the wearing of face masks on public transport in the capital to be made compulsory.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said the government’s scientific advisers are finalising their advice on face masks to give to ministers shortly.
The open letter to the government has been signed by the likes of Andrew Phillips, professor of epidemiology at University College London, Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Paul Roderick, professor of public health at the University of Southampton.
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The experts warn there is “an urgent need to ensure the general population use cloth face coverings in public places”, particularly in supermarkets and public transport, “as an additional tool to reduce community transmission” of the virus.