Brits told to wear face masks on public transport and in shops to stop spread of coronavirus


BRITS have been told to wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Boris Johnson said that homemade masks should be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible or where you may come into contact with people from outside of your household.

It includes public transport and in some shops, the Prime Minister's 50-page roadmap to get the UK out of lockdown reveals.

The Department of Health said today, that after considering the latest scientific advice from Sage, face coverings can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

They stressed that the evidence shows face coverings can stop you passing coronavirus on to others, if you are asymptomatic or have yet to develop symptoms.

It's unlikely they will stop you catching the bug.

It comes as commuters packed onto Jubilee Line trains this morning, hours after Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Earlier today TfL said all passengers and staff would need to wear masks on the Underground, and advised people avoided busy times.

No 10 stressed that face coverings could include scarves and homemade masks - and added surgical masks used as vital PPE should be left for NHS and healthcare workers.

The guidelines state that children under the age of two should not wear masks, nor should anyone who may find it difficult to manage them safely. This includes primary age children and those with respiratory conditions.

The Government also warned that for face coverings to be effective, people must wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off.

Masks aren't necessary if you're outside, while exercising, at schools or in offices.

DOCTOR'S ORDERS

England's top doctor and Sage member, Prof Chris Whitty said: "Wearing a face covering is an added precaution, that may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood that a person with the infection passes it on.

"The most effective means of preventing the spread of this virus remains following social distancing rules and washing your hands regularly.

"It does not remove the need to self isolate if you have symptoms."

Health minister, Jo Churchill, said it is important that the public avoids using surgical masks, and those needed by NHS staff.

"You do not need a clinical mask, which are prioritised for our healthcare workers," she said.

"Instead a face covering is sufficient and we encourage people to make these at home with items they will already own."

MAYOR'S MESSAGE

As London prepares for thousands of people returning to work, disinfectant stations will be set up around the network and all frontline staff will be given masks, TfL said.

Last night the PM urged the nation to hop on a bike and cycle to work if they needed to return during the coronavirus lockdown.

Downing Street is determined to ensure that people returning to work - if they cannot work from home - does not result in a second wave of Covid-19.

Mr Johnson said that workers who can't perform jobs from home should avoid public transport "if at all possible."

However, Sadiq Khan has today told Londoners that the lockdown is still in effect and travellers should not use the Tube at all.

The Mayor of London has faced criticism for reducing the Underground service during the Covid-19 crisis, meaning that rush-hour carriages become busy.

He has also failed to demand extra trains be put on by TfL bosses, despite Mr Johnson’s back to work statement.

Mr Khan said: “I want to be clear as possible with Londoners - social distancing measures are still in place.

“Lockdown hasn't been lifted and we all still need to play our part in stopping the spread of Covid-19.

“You must still stay at home as much as possible and keep a safe two-metre distance from other people at all times when you are out.”

UNION FURY

Unions have attacked the PM’s speech and accused Mr Johnson of sending mixed messages which could have "lethal" consequences.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union advised its members not to work if they felt unsafe.

The union said the Government was shifting away from the stay at home message, which would unleash a surge in passengers on the railways and Tubes from tomorrow, breaching social- distancing measures with "potentially lethal consequences" for staff and the public.

Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs Association general secretary, said the "mixed messaging" from the Prime Minister was "dangerous".

He added: "It will cause chaos. Our transport network is not ready for any increase in passengers."

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said that workers “cramming” onto trains and buses could cause a risk to the health of workers and passengers

He added: “People cannot get to work safely unless there is safe transport for them to use.

"Yet there is now a real risk that in a few hours' time, workers will be cramming onto public transport, putting at risk their lives and those of others.

"This has not been thought through and the failure to do so places working people in danger."

'SAFE AT WORK'

In yesterday's speech, the PM laid out the "first careful steps" of easing the lockdown as part of a three-phase plan to get back to normal life.

But most of Britain's strict lockdown measures will stay in place for now as it's still too soon to make any major changes, he said.

However,  Mr Johnson said the government wants to ensure everyone is "safe at work" with new guidance for employers to make workplaces COVID-secure.

He said: "We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

"And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.