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Face masks are taking over Europe. So why not the UK?

In Spain, people over the age of six are required to wear a mask when you cannot maintain a distance of over 1.5 metres from other people.

In Italy, it is also mandatory where one cannot social distance. In Germany, they are required in all public spaces… Yet in the UK, things are different. In England and Scotland, any piece of fabric shielding one’s mouth and nose is only compulsory on public transport in Scotland. In Northern Ireland and Wales, it is simply recommended.

Face coverings are not mandatory in the shops or anywhere where social distancing is difficult to achieve in the UK, it is just recommended. The British Medical Association has plainly for face coverings to be made mandatory in all indoor settings.

Globally, there have been mixed messages over the usage of face masks during the course of the pandemic. In some areas, it was discouraged at the beginning, due to doubts over their effectiveness. Recently, they have been encouraged as a way of reducing the spread of the virus in close spaces, from droplets from people’s mouths or noses when talking, coughing, sneezing, etc.

Some issues have been brought up about mask-wearing, however, such as the fact that people will often move or take off their masks at intervals. In doing this, they may touch whatever the mask has caught with their hands, and they then go and touch other surfaces.

The UK government website does have a page which tells you how you can make your own mask. They advise that you wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face-covering has touched, and that you should wash it regularly.

Despite this, there has been little to enforce people wearing them.


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