Responding to the announcement by the Government today that the public will be required to wear face masks on public transport from the 15th June, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:
“The BMA recently advocated the wearing of face coverings by the public several weeks ago in areas where they cannot socially distance and believes it is right that people should be required to wear face coverings on public transport.
“Given there remains a considerable risk of infection, with thousands of new cases every day, wearing masks can reduce the spread of the virus. Not only will this afford greater protection to the public, importantly, it will protect the lives of the staff working on public transport who, as evidence suggests, are at greater risk of infection.
“These important measures should not be restricted to public transport but to all areas where social distancing is not always possible - the risk will be much less if the public adopts this now – not mid-June.
“The BMA believes that the Government should ensure a supply of face coverings for the public, similar to practices in other nations, as there will be circumstances where many individuals may not have the capacity to make them or may be unable to procure them when needed. It is vital that these face coverings are not the same as the medical-grade masks that have been in short supply and must be reserved for frontline staff whose job is dependent upon having them for adequate protection.
“It is also essential that the Government ensures the public is adequately informed and educated on the proper use of face coverings and reinforces that this by no means reduces the importance of continued adherence to social distancing and proper hand hygiene.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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