Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Masks should be worn outside and in all work places, top doctors say

Top doctors have slammed the Government’s ‘inconsistent’ coronavirus restrictions and urged them to make masks mandatory outside and in all work places. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the inconsistency of the Government’s messaging after the first lockdown was lifted played a part in the resurgence of the virus.

They have published a set of recommendations they think will have a ‘positive effect’ if ‘introduced quickly’.

The BMA say people should have to wear facemasks in all outdoor settings where they cannot stay two metres away from each other and in all office and working environments.

They also said that the Rule of Six should be changed to allow only two households to mix. 

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They urged the Government to provide ‘clear rules’ on what ‘Covid secure’ means for businesses, retail and hospitality settings and to provide them with financial support to make places safe.

The BMA believe vulnerable people, including those over 60 years old, should be provided with medical grade masks, while regular masks should be provided for free to those who are ordinarily exempt from paying prescriptions.

They also want the NHS Test and Trace app to give people more detailed information on infection rates in their area including actual figures of rates of infection and trends.

The BMA’s council chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘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.

‘The Government has a duty to regain the public’s confidence and faith in measures being taken to get the spread of the virus back under control.

‘We know that with the right public behaviour and renewed public confidence, the infection can be brought under control, given that we had less than 500 new cases a day in mid-July.

‘We are having to swallow a very bitter pill of the infection continuing to spread at a perilous rate.

‘Stronger measures brought in now could be a far sweeter pill in the long run for far more people.

‘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.’

It comes as the country awaits Boris Johnson’s announcement of a new three-tiered lockdown system which will see areas with the highest coronavirus rates placed in the red tier and put under tougher restrictions. 

If an area is in the red tier its hospitality and leisure businesses will have to close, households will not be allowed to mix and non-professional sports will be scrapped. 

The second-level amber tier will limit social gatherings to only those in a household’s support bubble and limit travel to only essential purposes. 

The green tier’s restrictions are similar to the current national ones including the Rule of Six, the 10pm curfew and requirements to wear facemasks in supermarkets and public transport. 

An announcement from the Prime Minister is expected on Monday, when he is set to give a statement to MPs.

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