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Face coverings will be COMPULSORY on public transport in England from June 15

Face coverings are to be made compulsory on public transport from June 15 to help quell coronavirus, Grant Shapps announced tonight.

The Transport Secretary unveiled the new rule as he told the Downing Street briefing that makeshift masks can reduce the spread – following weeks of accusations that ministers were dragging their heels on the issue. 

Mr Shapps said the ‘challenges’ for the network were ‘increasing’ as more people go back to work and schools and shops reopen. ‘We are doing what many other countries have asked transport users to do,’ he said. ‘The evidence is that wearing face coverings offers some, albeit limited protection.’

Mr Shapps said while the rules would be mandatory and ‘ultimately’ people could be fined, he did not believe they would need much enforcement. ‘Wearing a face covering helps protect others,’ he said. ‘Why wouldn’t people want to do the right thing? We are all desperate to get rid of coronavirus.’

He stressed that people should still only use public transport if they have to, urging them to drive, walk or cycle instead where possible. 

Unions welcomed the move, saying it would give workers and travellers more confidence amid desperate efforts to get the economy back on its feet. More than 40 transport workers in London have died from coronavirus so far.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan immediately claimed credit, saying his ‘lobbying had paid off’ and the government had ‘finally seen sense’. 

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon declared earlier that she is considering taking the same step in Scotland. 

Experts have been split on whether face coverings have a major impact, but SAGE concluded recently that they can be useful to stop people spreading the disease.

There have been concerns that the public could start rushing to buy clinical standard masks and leave the health service short of supplies. 

The dramatic announcement came as: 

  • The UK announced 176 more deaths, taking the total number of victims to 39,904 – as separate shock data suggests the UK’s outbreak is still killing more people each day than the rest of the EU countries combined; 
  • The cost of the government’s coronavirus bailouts has been revised upwards to an eye-watering £130billion; 
  • Business Secretary Alok Sharma has self-isolated for coronavirus after ‘sniffing and sweating’ through a Commons statement, and meeing face to face with Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak earlier this week;
  • Boris Johnson’s personal approval rating has dived by 40 points to turn negative in less than two months, according to an exclusive poll for MailOnline;
  • Scientists have criticised plans for 14-day quarantine on UK arrivals as pointless, despite evidence the public overwhelmingly backs the idea. 
Public transport is gradually getting busier after the government urged people to go back to work where possible

Public transport is gradually getting busier after the government urged people to go back to work where possible

Public transport is gradually getting busier after the government urged people to go back to work where possible 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps unveiled the news at the Downing Street briefing this evening, saying makeshift masks can play a part in reducing the spread

The government provided its latest slides on the status of the coronavirus outbreak tonight

The government provided its latest slides on the status of the coronavirus outbreak tonight

The government provided its latest slides on the status of the coronavirus outbreak tonight

Scientists concluded face coverings helped reduce spread weeks before guidance changed 

Scientists concluded there was enough evidence to recommend the use of face coverings weeks before ministers issued the advice.

Experts said on April 21 that the public should be advised to wear coverings when social distancing is not possible, but ministers in England did not issue the advice until May 11.

The SAGE panel, including chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, discussed masks on April 21.

‘SAGE advises that, on balance, there is enough evidence to support recommendation of community use of cloth face masks, for short periods in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not possible,’ they concluded.

Despite Scotland and Northern Ireland issuing the advice to wear coverings, ministers in England did not give the guidance until publishing the ‘plan to rebuild’ nearly three weeks later.

‘As more people return to work, there will be more movement outside people’s immediate household,’ they said.

‘This increased mobility means the Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet, for example on public transport or in some shops.’

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Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said: ‘This is a sensible step by the Secretary of State for Transport. We have been working closely with the government to ensure that agreed increases in services on Britain’s train, and Tube, network is done in a safe and controlled manner – to help spread the loading, and maintain social distancing – for the safety of passengers and staff. 

‘The instruction to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus will ease the concerns of people travelling, and working, on the transport network.’ 

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT union, complained that the announcement had been forced by the ‘premature easing of lockdown’.

‘The RMT has been campaigning for compulsory wearing of masks on public transport and this is long overdue, but we fear this announcement is being driven not by safety concerns but by the premature easing of the lockdown which is swelling passenger numbers and making social distancing on transport increasingly impossible,’ he said. 

Mr Khan said this evening: ‘I’m pleased that our lobbying has paid off and the Government has finally seen sense and made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings on public transport. 

‘This is something I and others have been calling on ministers to do for some time, and is in line with a large body of evidence that they can help stop the spread of coronavirus.’

Mr Khan also warned that even with masks he would not be able to ramp up services – a major bone of contention with ministers. 

‘TfL continues to work hard to maximise services despite staff being ill, shielding or self-isolating. 

‘The reality is that due to social distancing the effective capacity of public transport services has been dramatically reduced. 

‘We can only carry between 13 per cent – 15 per cent of passengers. 

‘We all must play our part by working from home if we can and making journeys on foot or by bike if at all possible in order to keep the service safe for those who really need it.’  

Ms Sturgeon told a press briefing this afternoon that mandatory masks was ‘under consideration’ in Scotland.

‘I said when I announced the policy some weeks back that we would keep this under review, so we haven’t reached a final decision on this.

‘But I think it is fair to say that it is something we are considering and I think that is inevitable.

‘I understand why some people may not want to wear face coverings, it’s not the most comfortable thing to do.’

Ms Sturgeon said there was ‘some evidence’ that wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, where physical distancing is more difficult, can protect other people if the wearer is infected.

‘I really want to strongly encourage people if you haven’t already been doing it, or if you have started to do it and found it uncomfortable and haven’t continued, please consider this very carefully.

‘We want to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce the risks of transmission.’

Mr Shapps told the No10 briefing tonight that the new rules will take effect from Monday.   

‘That doesn’t mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings. It means the kind of face covering, you can easily make at home. There will be exemptions to these rules for very young children, for disabled people and those with breathing difficulties,’ he said.

THE TRUTH ABOUT FACE MASKS: WHAT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN

Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts have increasingly been leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing. 

A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. 

It’s too early for there to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks. 

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials. 

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous. 

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose. 

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others. 

But the Oxford analysis of past studies- which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients. 

However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Some think the masks may also help to ‘train’ people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unfamiliar garment will just make people do it more, actually raising infection risks.  

If the CDC does instruct Americans to wear masks, it could create a second issue: Hospitals already face shortages of masks and other PPE.

He said ‘we need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft, and on ferries’.

‘With more people using transport the evidence suggests wearing face coverings offers some – albeit limited – protection against the spread for the virus.’ 

Mr Shapps said staff who come into contact with passengers will also have to wear face coverings.

‘Of course frontline staff, those in contact with passengers, doing such an important job at this crucial time will also need to wear face coverings,’ he said.

‘In the coming days the Government will work with the unions, who’ve been supportive, for which I’m very grateful, transport operators and the police to ensure that they’ve the supplies they need to be safe and to provide reassurance to the public.

‘These measures apply in England but we’re working with the devolved administrations ahead of implementation.’ 

Mr Shapps told the press conference the changes would be made under the National Rail conditions of travel and public service vehicle regulations for buses.

‘This will mean that you can be refused travel if you don’t comply and you could be fined.

‘Alongside transport operators, this will be enforced by the British Transport Police if necessary, but I expect the vast majority of people won’t need to be forced into this, because wearing a face covering helps protect others.’

Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts are increasingly leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing. 

A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. 

It’s too early for there to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks. 

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials. 

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous. 

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose. 

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others. 

But the Oxford analysis of past studies- which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients. 

However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Last night officials released a Blue Peter-style guide on how to make one from an old T-shirt

Last night officials released a Blue Peter-style guide on how to make one from an old T-shirt

Last night officials released a Blue Peter-style guide on how to make one from an old T-shirt

How to make your own coronavirus face mask: Online DIY tutorials detail method for vacuum cleaner bag or T-shirt to create protection that leading scientists say is effective against bug 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has led to a shortage of protective face masks, leading to a deluge of online tutorials ion how to make your own using a t-shirt or pillowcase.

Homemade masks offer significantly less protection than the N95 medical masks, which are made of a thick, tightly woven material that fits over the face and can stop 95 per cent of all airborne particles. 

Public Health England still does not recommend Britons wear face masks, unless in a medical setting. 

But there are good reasons to think DIY masks could be effective in tackling the pandemic, as they have been widely used in Hong Kong,Mongolia and South Korea -countries that largely have the disease under control.

The World Health Organisation also currently does not recommend that people without the illness wear face masks, but it could be about to reverse its decision due to evidence from Hong Kong that they may be effective in fighting the virus.

And in a further sign that attitudes about masks are changing, LA’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, yesterday told all four million of the city’s residents that they must wear face masks at all times to slow the spread of the deadly pandemic. 

MailOnline has investigated how you can make your own face mask using everyday household items such as a t-shirt, kitchen towel or vacuum bags. 

How to make a face mask from a t-shirt

A YouTube tutorial by Runa Ray shows how to make a face mask without any need for sewing, using just a plain t-shirt. 

First of all you need scissors, pencil and a ruler, and a t-shirt you don’t mind being used to make a face mask. 

Cut out a 16′ by 4′ rectangle from the middle of the t-shirt, then fold it in half, and measure four inches on either side.

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Then mark the t-shirt with an even number of tassels on each side and use scissors to cut them.

Turn the t-shirt inside out and separate the corner tassels, but tie the remaining ones in-between.

Then with the remaining t-shirt material cut some ear straps using the hem of the shirt. 

Attach the straps to the remaining outer tassels and you have yourself a face mask, with no sewing involved, and using an old t-shirt.

A slightly more complicated method has been perfected by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh  also managed to design a face mask that could be used if ‘commercial masks’ are not available during a virus outbreak.

A woman wearing a mask walks past a closed shop window display during the pandemic lockdown in Manchester

A woman wearing a mask walks past a closed shop window display during the pandemic lockdown in Manchester

A woman wearing a mask walks past a closed shop window display during the pandemic lockdown in Manchester

They used a regular cotton t-shirt, which was boiled for 10 minutes and then air-dried to sterilise the material, but also to shrink it.

The researchers used a marker and ruler to measure out what they wanted to cut and then formed the mask using an outer layer and then eight inner layers covering the nose and mouth.

The mask does not require any sewing, and instead involves it being tied multiple time around the face. 

How to make a face mask from vacuum cleaner bags 

By following the simple steps in the graphic, you can create your own face mask from a T-Shirt or vacuum cleaner bag, 

Even UK politicians have got in on the act,  with Gillian Martin, who is MSP for Aberdeenshire East, describing how she made a face mask from vacuum cleaner bags and elastic. 

She told the Daily Record: ‘I live in a small village and have been here for over 20 years. I don’t want to worry or offend people when I go out.

‘I started researching what other countries have been doing and came across a chart with the best materials to use to make a mask out of just about anything.’

‘Just below medical material was a hoover bag. I have loads of them lying around and found Hepa-Flow bag that just goes on your Henry hoover’. 

The chart the MSP is referring to from a University of Cambridge study which shows the materials that work the best against virus sized particles.

The top three are a surgical mask, vacuum cleaner bag and tea towel.

She added: ‘I cut it up the bag and secured it with elastic. I live with my family of three who have all been self-isolating so I made one for each of us’.

Gillian Martin posted about her mask that she made from a vacuum cleaning bag

Gillian Martin posted about her mask that she made from a vacuum cleaning bag

Gillian Martin posted about her mask that she made from a vacuum cleaning bag

‘I made it because I’m nervous of people coming up to me when I’m out walking the dog. I don’t want to have to run away from them.’

Another popular YouTube method shows how to fold up a scarf, using hair ties at either end, to make a simple and easy no-sew mask. The same method can be used with a handkerchief and doesn’t involve any sewing.  

How to make a face mask from kitchen towel

For this you need two layers of kitchen towel and one of tissue.

You cut it in half, and then use masking tape on each end to ensure the mask is stiff.

Then you punch holes through either end of the mask and thread elastic bands through the holes. 

Some Japanese women have even been posting instructions about how to make a face mask from a bra.

The method is simple and involves cutting off one cup with scissors and then sewing the bra straps on, so they can be attached to your face.

Do masks have to be complex to be effective?

The idea that masks do not have to be complex to be effective does have some support from recently published studies. 

A University of Oxford study published this week concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

It’s too early for there to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks.

Two elderly women wearing protective face masks walk in Westminster on Wednesday

Two elderly women wearing protective face masks walk in Westminster on Wednesday

Two elderly women wearing protective face masks walk in Westminster on Wednesday

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials.

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous.

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose.

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

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