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Make masks compulsory in public in UK, says virus expert

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Make masks compulsory in public in UK, says virus expert

Face masks should be compulsory for adults in all public and enclosed spaces, such as shops, according to a leading infectious diseases expert.

Prof Peter Piot, the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said he did not understand why the government had only ordered their use on trains, tubes and buses in England .

“I don’t understand why it is not official policy to have compulsory face masks not only on public transport but when you go into public places, enclosed places and shops and all that,” said Piot in an interview with the Guardian.

He contrasted Britain with Japan, where people use face masks even if they have a cold in the interests of protecting others, and have done since the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, he said. Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have also adopted masks as “an act of civic duty and of the collective wellbeing”.

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But here, he said, politicians and many in the scientific community were opposed. “I can imagine the debates. Britain is a nation of people who want absolute evidence, and the evidence for masks is more ecological, as we say. There are very few randomised controlled trials. But even if they are not 100% effective, if everybody wears one, we know from other countries that it works.” Coronavirus: what kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Read more The US, he said, was “a natural experiment” with some states requiring people to wear masks while others do not. Recent data has suggested that in those where masks are compulsory, “they have much lower incidence”, he said.

But it […]

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