Hairdressers could pass the coronavirus to their clients as there are fears their plastic visors are “inadequate,” experts have warned.
Scientists have expressed concern that plastic face shields worn by barbers and hairdressers may not offer adequate protection against the coronavirus.
They fear that the large gap will still allow virus-laden droplets to enter the mouth, The Sun reported.
Ministers warned visors worn by hairdressers and barbers (pictured) could be ‘inadequate’ and not provide adequate protection against the coronavirus
Ministers are facing calls from scientists to force barber and hairdressing staff to wear masks or face masks, with or without visors.
Scientists raised these concerns at Friday’s meeting of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag).
They also expressed their fears about personal protective equipment during a recent meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) sub-committee, The telegraph of the day reported.
NHS staff and healthcare workers do not use visors without also wearing a face mask that covers the nose and mouth.
Professor of Medical Microbiology Mark Wilcox, who attends Sage and two of its sub-committees, said: “I don’t think the guidelines are correct and I don’t understand why visors were chosen over masks.
“We have, in several contexts, discussed the issue of masks versus visors and I think it would be fair to say that I am not alone in these views. My colleagues both in these settings and in other settings share my point of view.
“I haven’t met anyone who said visors are the best thing.
Scientists fear that the large gap between the visor (above) and the person’s face may still allow virus-laden droplets to enter the mouth
Dr Ben Killingley, infectious disease consultant who sits on Nervtag, said: “A visor is mainly worn to protect workers from splashes. It does the same job as the glasses, protecting the eyes. No healthcare worker would ever wear a visor without a mask.
“You would have thought of their own protection and just in case they got infected themselves, they would have to wear a mask themselves.
The NHBF, the professional body for hairdressers, beauty salons and barbers, writes on its website that face coverings should not be worn in place of a visor.
The NHBF, which relies on government advice for advice on PPE, said: “Customers can wear a face mask if they wish and staff can wear a face mask in addition to a visor. , but not in place of one. “
It comes after Swiss health officials also condemned face shields worn by hairdressers last week.
Swiss officials have been investigating an outbreak of “several” coronavirus cases at a hotel in a village in the Alps – even though employers have taken precautions.
In the UK, it is currently not mandatory for hairdressers or barbers to wear additional personal protective equipment other than a visor.
One study found that only those who wore plastic visors were infected. But no one who wore a mask, alone or in addition to a face shield, caught the virus.
The hotel outbreak occurred in the village of Pontresina, in the Graübunden region, where several employees and at least one guest have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Local health officials have determined that all those infected rely only on a face shield for protection.
The Federal Office of Public Health, the health agency of the Swiss government, said: “Visors are not a substitute for a face mask.
“They protect the eyes from possible droplet infection, but the possibility of infection through the nose or mouth cannot be ruled out. “
But in the UK it is not mandatory for hairdressers to wear additional protection other than a visor.
The Department of Health said: “It is not necessary for the client to wear additional protection such as a mask or face mask, when the practitioner is wearing a visor. “
Ministers face calls from scientists asking barbers and hairdressers to use face masks or masks (pictured) when wearing visors
A government spokesperson said: “The advice to hairdressers remains unchanged and is that they should continue to wear visors. “
But Boris Johnson has extended the mandatory wearing of face masks to most indoor public spaces, including museums in places of worship.
It was part of the Prime Minister’s announcement on July 31, when he said he was “pressing the brake pedal” to further lift the coronavirus restrictions.
He said the August 1 return of casinos, bowling alleys and close contact services such as beauticians had been postponed to August 15 “at the earliest.”
Relaxing rules to allow wedding receptions of up to 30 people and a pilot project to bring crowds back to sports venues have also been delayed.
After the infection rate doubled in July, ministers and scientists are growing tired of a second attack of the virus, which is experiencing a resurgence in several other countries.
New lockdown restrictions were also imposed in the Northwest, as people were banned from congregating in other people’s homes or gardens due to coronavirus fears.