Matt Hancock has dubbed face masks as ‘important part of our armoury’ and says they could become compulsory in shops.
The Health Secretary said he will be reviewing the wearing of face coverings in crowded places indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He said: “The use of face coverings that are not formal face masks is valuable especially in some circumstances and therefore it’s mandated on public transport and it has been long recommended in some shops.”
According to a source from the Department of Health, the issue regarding face masks is set to be kept under constant review and any guidelines are not expected to be released immediately.
The news comes as the president of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan, slammed the government for a confusing message on the use of face masks and coverings in the UK throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
At present, it is only compulsory to wear a face mask or covering on public transport, and it has been advised to wear masks in supermarkets or other areas where social distancing cannot be practiced successfully.
Other countries have implemented the use of face masks into their daily lives, while the UK has not implemented a stringent policy.
Ramakrishnan said: “Perhaps people do not really understand the benefits or are not convinced of them. Whatever the reasons, we need to overcome our reservations and wear face coverings whenever we are around others in public.
“It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts.
“Today, both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way.”
The comments follow new research that detail the effectiveness of the use of face masks and coverings.
Studies show that masks can reduce the risk of transmission rate to just 3.1% with a mask, down from 17.4% without a mask.
A study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A explains that if the entire public wear a mask, it will be twice as effective at reducing the R rate than if those showing symptoms wore a mask.
In April, the uptake for wearing a mask in the UK was 25%, compared to 83.4% in Italy, 65.8% in the US and 63.8% in Spain.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week, Ramakrishnan added: “I think what we would like for the Government is to be a bit stronger and clearer about the messaging and require it whenever you are in crowded public spaces where you cannot get more than two metres away from the next person.
“If you’re in a crowded setting, you ought to wear a mask.”
Ramakrishnan did note that being outdoors poses less of a problem for transmission and mask-wearing is largely required in indoor settings.
Downing Street has stressed that people need to ensure they are wearing face masks properly, covering both the nose and the mouth.
The government states: “We have been very clear about the benefits of people wearing face coverings.”
Disposable face masks are also expected to cause a huge environmental problem, and the problems of this are already being seen across the world.
Download easy sewing patterns and find tutorials for creating masks here.
Blackpool is set to get a new £300m ‘indoor theme park’
This looks so good!
The latest development proposals for Blackpool will be the single biggest investment in the seaside town for more than a century.
The range of new attractions will include the UK’s first flying theatre, the world’s first multimedia exhibition of its kind and the most advanced virtual reality experience on an epic scale.
The development is set to span across a 17-acre plot, attracting 600,000 additional visitors a year and contribute a massive £75m a year too.
There will also be 1,000 new jobs for the people of Blackpool created as part of the development.
Based on the novels written by Eric Von Däniken in the 1960s and 1970s, the site will follow the theme of ‘Chariots of the Gods’.
It will include unsolved mysteries of the past such as the Pyramids of Egypt and Mexico as well as ancient cave drawings, the monuments of Easter Island and even alien visitors!
Flying Theatre True flight movement will provide an unparalleled real-flying sensation and is the number one attraction across major cities and theme parks. The world’s most advanced VR experience will also find a new home in Blackpool with state-of-the-art visuals, body tracking and even touch and smell.
The development will also house a new restaurant with a breathtaking ‘rollercoaster service‘, in a one-of-a-kind place of fun, adventure and discovery, all serving healthy and organic food.
Blackpool is currently working with Media Investment Entertainment – who own the intellectual property of Chariots of the Gods – and Nikal Ltd to help unlock the development of this opportunity.
The new development is set to be delivered over an eight to nine-year period and will bring new hotels, restaurants, food market, event square, residential apartments and multi-storey parking.
Boris Johnson confirms England will return to three tier system from December 2nd
Boris Johnson addressed the Commons remotely today, to lay out his ‘Covid Winter Plan’.
The Prime Minister spoke to MPs via videolink as he is still self-isolating.
Mr Johnson confirmed that England would be returning to the regional three tier system which was in place before lockdown began.
However, he announced that the three tiers would each become stricter to try and stop the spread of the virus.
In Tier 1, people should work from home where it is possible, while in Tier 2 alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal, and in Tier 3 indoor entertainment, hotels and all hospitality will have to close – except for deliveries and takeaways.
Also in Tiers 1 and 2, the 10pm curfew for pubs and bars will end, with last orders being at 10pm and establishments closing at 11pm, allowing people to leave in a more staggered way.
The Prime Minister confirmed that gyms, hairdressers, salons and all shops could reopen at the end of lockdown, and that outdoor sports can resume.
He also announced that some fans will be allowed back into sports stadiums in Tier 1 and 2 areas.
Mr Johnson said that ‘more regions will temporarily fall into the higher levels’, but that with mass testing it should be possible for these areas to move into lower tiers.
The government is also working with the devolved administrations of the UK to come up with a plan for Christmas, according to the Prime Minister, although he added: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year”.
The government is also planning to ‘end automatic isolation’ for anyone who has come into contact with someone who has coronavirus, with a testing scheme replacing it, which will be piloted in Liverpool.
In the pilot, people who have come into contact with anyone who’s tested positive will be tested every day for a week – they’ll only need to self-isolate if they test positive for coronavirus.
It’s expected the details of what tier the different regions and areas of England will be placed in will be announced on Thursday.
Morrisons gives 10% Christmas discount to frontline workers in 16 jobs
As a ‘thank you’ to thousands of frontline workers, Morrisons will be providing a 10% discount to people from now until Christmas.
Those employed in the emergency services, care workers and Armed Forces personnel who hold a Blue Light Card will qualify for the benefit at Morrisons stores.
Cardholders will be able to claim the 10% discount on their groceries by presenting their Blue Light ID Card at tills at any of Morrisons 498 stores.
Morrisons have launched the discount to show appreciation to the key workers who have gone above and beyond their usual roles throughout the pandemic this year.
People in these roles qualify:
- Ambulance Service
- Border Force
- British Army
- Fire Service
- HM Coastguard
- Prison Service
- Red Cross
- Reserve Armed Force
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Marines
- Royal Navy
- Social care workers
- HM Armed Forces Veterans
- Community First Responders
- Second Line Responders
David Potts, Morrisons’ chief executive said: “Our emergency services, social care sector and armed forces have worked tirelessly this year to provide support to the many people who need it across the UK, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.