All essential workers, including traders, should be given protective masks, said the British Medical Association, as the main doctors ‘union joined ministers’ calls to ask members of the public to wear face covers. outside their home.
In an important intervention in the public debate on masks, the BMA cited “emerging evidence” that covering the mouth and nose “can help” control the spread of Covid-19 and therefore save lives .
Chaand Nagpaul, the GP who chairs the board of the BMA, said the union had come to the conclusion that all essential workers outside the NHS should now be given masks or “appropriate face covers”. They include “transport workers, traders, carers or supermarket staff who cannot socially distance themselves,” said Dr Nagpaul.
The government should say that the use of scarves or other makeshift face covers by members of the public could prevent the spread of Covid-19 in certain circumstances, according to the advice of the Sage adviser group.
But ministers are unlikely to officially ask members of the public to use face covers, despite requests from some doctors. Officials warned that such a recommendation could jeopardize the availability of masks for NHS workers amid low stocks of certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE).