Wearing face masks won’t be made compulsory in Wales as government says evidence ‘not strong enough’
Wearing face masks in Wales will not be made compulsory during the coronavirus pandemic as the First Minister said the evidence was “not strong enough”.
While Public Health England issued advice yesterday on how to make one from a t-shirt, Mark Drakeford said the guidance from the Welsh Chief Medical Officer showed there was only a “marginal” case for the public to use them.
In a further move, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that the UK Government would be recommending the use of face coverings in certain settings from Wednesday.
At the Welsh Government’s daily press conference on Monday, Mr Drakeford was asked if Wales would be following suit.
In response, he said people were entitled to wear non-medical face masks if they wished to, but should not take “false confidence” from doing so.
He said: “The advice I have is that we should not consider making it mandatory because the evidence is not strong enough for that.
“But where people feel that this would be something that would offer them confidence, the case is there for them to do it, provided, first of all, that is is a non-medical face covering so we’re not competing for face masks with people who need them in clinical settings. And secondly, that people don’t take a false confidence from doing it.
“If you are symptomatic, if you are covering coughing and spluttering, you should not be out and wearing a non-medical face covering is not an excuse to do something that would be risky.
“So provided we do it in that way, if people feel that it would be the right thing for them to do give them confidence to use facilities that are available, then the advice to them in Wales is they should go ahead and do that.”
The advice echoes that of the UK Government, which this afternoon published a framework outlining how lockdown measures will begin to be lifted in England.
The 51-page document includes guidelines on the use of face-coverings in public places, including how they should be worn and by who.
It states: “As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people’s immediate household.
“This increased mobility means the government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.
“Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. Face-coverings are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against inadvertent transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.”
The guidance states that surgical masks and respirators should not be viewed the same as the suggested face coverings for members of the public.
It adds that such supplies should be preserved for healthcare and other frontline workers.
The document also shows that face-coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.
You should also wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.
Public Health England has published this guide yesterday on how to make a face covering from a t-shirt, or how to create a sewn cloth face covering.
You can watch the full briefing from Monday’s below, including the Q&A session at the end :
🎥 Yn fyw nawr | 🎥 Live now: https://t.co/IPcdmKZBBb
— Welsh Government (@WelshGovernment) May 11, 2020
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