In a government announcement later this week, masks must be used in shops and confined spaces. Boris Johnson is preparing to tell the House of Commons that this move is necessary to encourage a rapid transition towards a normal life.
Ministers encouraged more people to return to work in order to prevent a surge in the spread of coronavirus. However, due to signs of a partial increase in the infection rate, Boris Johnson was criticised for delaying an being confused about what people should do when they leave home. Shadow Health Minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “People just want to do the right thing and are worried about the infection rate.”
Johnson has only a few days to promote the new guidelines for making face masks compulsory, which will require parliament to change emergency legislation before the long summer recess next week.
Currently, it is recommended that people in England wear face masks in closed public places where social distancing is unlikely. This is a mandatory requirement, and one must be worn on public transport and when going to the hospital. Mr Hunt, the chairman of the Commons Health Select Committee, said he understood the current proposal, but it did not answer the “basic question” whether people need to wear masks when shopping.
In the early days of the coronavirus crisis, the British government initially hesitated and suggested that people don’t need to wear face masks, believing that the scientific evidence to reduce transmission is “weak.” The choice of masks that were available initially were reserved for NHS key workers, the best face masks for coronavirus weren’t always available at the time, at one point leaving keyworkers having only a scarf to protect themselves. This general scarcity of face masks has now been fulfilled.
However, on June 15th, the United Kingdom introduced regulations for people to wear masks on public transportation. The general public still have no stringent guidelines on how to wear them or if they can reuse the face masks again. Making face masks compulsory could make the public more pro-active in educating themselves.