COVID-19: UK Stockpiling Face Masks For Public Use

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The UK is building a stockpile of face masks ahead of an expected change to guidance over their use which would involve Brits wearing them in confined spaces such as trains and shops.

Britain is stockpiling face masks to be used on public transport and in shops.

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Michael Gove revealed that a “domestic effort” has been launched to slow the spread of coronavirus by producing masks that “limit the droplets that each of us might be responsible for”.

His commitment comes after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gazumped the UK government in advising Scots to wear masks.

She told her daily briefing that coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces, such as shops or on public transport.

It is thought that her advice is likely to become UK-wide guidance in the coming days, although the government in Westminster has so far stopped short of it, referring to the science behind their effectiveness as “weak”.

The Telegraph reports that the government wants to delay an announcement on face coverings until it has stockpiled enough.

The government yesterday said it is carefully reviewing the advise of its SAGE scientific committee and will make public any changes in policy.

In a Commons exchange with his Labour shadow Rachel Reeves, Mr Gove said: “I can confirm Lord Agnew, the joint Cabinet Office and Treasury minister, has launched a domestic effort to ensure we produce just such masks and that is part of the broader effort that Lord Deighton is leading on ensuring we can bolster the production of personal protection equipment.”