There are no plans to make masks mandatory for office workers in England, said Matt Hancock.
The health secretary told the BBC that people working in offices would not need to cover themselves, despite a newspaper report suggesting that they would.
“It is something that we have looked at and rejected,” he said, but additional masks would be worn elsewhere by the public “for the foreseeable future.”
Face covers in stores will become mandatory in England on July 24.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules on wearing face covers in stores in England will face a fine of up to £ 100.
Children under the age of 11, people with disabilities and people working in shops will be exempt.
Scotland is already asking buyers to cover their faces, while Wales and Northern Ireland are both considering similar policies.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson engaged for the first time in an “independent investigation” into the government’s management of the pandemic.
Hancock said that face covers help prevent spread during short interactions with strangers, but that social estrangement and hand washing are more effective in contacting people over long periods.
There is a difference between visiting a store for a few minutes and working with colleagues at an office for several hours, he told BBC Breakfast.
“When you are close to a person with whom you have to work closely, if you have been there for a long time, then a mask does not offer this protection. “
“The same logic applies to schools – we do not recommend masks for schools because if you are in a classroom with children all day, a mask does not protect you,” he added. .
Labor leader spokesman Sir Keir Starmer said the party was not demanding the compulsory wearing of face covers in offices “at this stage”.
Speaking on Wednesday during Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons, Johnson declined to say he would implement the recommendations of a government-commissioned report on a potential “winter wave” of coronavirus infections later this year.
The Prime Minister, on the other hand, declared that the government was “busy implementing preparations for a new potential peak” and that it “was committing to record investments in the NHS”.
Johnson then praised the UK’s coronavirus testing and monitoring program as “as good or better than” any system in the world, although Sir Keir questioned its success in ensuring self-isolation of people.
She intervenes when a council in Blackburn, in Lancashire, told the inhabitants that they must wear face covers in all public places, because that made it possible to fight against a “rising tide” of cases of coronavirus.
Professor Dominic Harrison, Blackburn with Darwen’s director of public health, said he hoped the use of coatings, along with other specific measures, would prevent a local Leicester-style foreclosure in the region.
Leicester was the first local lockout in the UK on July 4 after an outbreak of Covid-19. There are limits to social gatherings and hotels, pubs and restaurants have not been allowed to reopen.
York residents and visitors must also “wear masks now” before they become mandatory for buyers on July 24.
Health officials in the city said there was “more and more evidence of the value of wearing face covers.”
Meanwhile. questions have been raised about the exact location where buyers should wear face covers in England after various cabinet ministers were seen with or without masks purchasing takeout.
Photographs by Cabinet Minister Michael Gove showed him faceless while in a Westminster branch in Pret on Tuesday, while business secretary Liz Truss was seen in the same store a few minutes later wearing a mask bright blue.
Hancock told BBC Radio 4 Today that he was “not really interested” in the images, adding, “These photos were taken before I announced the policy change in the House of communes yesterday afternoon ”.
Downing Street then suggested not to wear a face cover when purchasing take-out food in England, with official guidelines expected shortly.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said that his understanding “was that it wouldn’t be mandatory if you went, for example, to a sandwich shop to get a takeaway with a face covering.”
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak was pictured wearing a face mask while shopping for takeout at a central London sandwich shop on Wednesday afternoon.
Hancock said the public should get used to wearing face covers in NHS stores and facilities “for the foreseeable future.”
“People have to play their part,” he said.
The wearing of the mask has been compulsory on public transport in England and at NHS facilities across the United Kingdom since June 15.
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