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Coronavirus: What is the latest advice on wearing face masks?

A man wearing a face mask in london

The advice on face masks has changed over the course of the pandemic (PIcture: Reuters/Hannah McKay)

The Government has released a 50-page document setting out how the UK will be eased out of lockdown, outlining plans to ‘rebuild the UK for a world with Covid-19.’

Included in the ‘Covid-19 Recovery Strategy’ is updated advice on face coverings as well as plans for the gradual re-opening of schools, restaurants, pubs and businesses at large.

Face masks have been something of a contentious issue since the pandemic started, with opinion previously divided over how effective they are as a preventative mechanism.

We look at the Government’s latest advice on the issue.

What is the latest guidance on wearing face masks?

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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 they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.’

The advice continues: ‘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.’

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Note that a ‘face-covering’ is not the same as a surgical mask or respirators used as part of PPE, and the advice stands that such equipment should be reserved for those who need it.

Face-coverings should not be used for anyone under the age of two, or on those who may struggle to manage them correctly.

People are urged to always wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off.

The update comes after Transport for London (TfL) advised that all passengers should now wear face masks when using buses and trains in the capital.

Find out how to make a homemade mask using only a clean t-shirt and pair of scissors.

Or you can opt to express your personality through a Disney or Coronation Street one.

MORE: Face masks should be worn on Tube after pictures of packed carriages

MORE: NHS nurse quits hospital ‘after going weeks without face masks or hand gel’

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