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Wearing a face covering will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from 24 July.
They are already compulsory in Scotland - but different rules apply across the UK.
What are the face coverings rules in shops?It will be compulsory to wear a face covering in shops in England from Friday 24 July.
However, the rules won't apply to shop workers, government minister George Eustice told the BBC.
Those who fail to wear a mask will face a fine of up to £100. This will be reduced to £50 if people pay within 14 days.
The rules will be enforced by the police, rather than shop workers. The National Police Chiefs' Council says guidance will be issued to officers once the details of the new legislation are known.
People also won't be required to wear a covering in places where it's not practical - such as in a pub, cafe or restaurant - according to Mr Eustice. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.
In Scotland, it's been a requirement to wear face coverings in shops since 10 July. Anyone not wearing one can be fined £60 fine (reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days) for a first offence.
People with certain medical conditions or disabilities, and children under five are exempt in Scotland.
Shop staff do not have to wear them, but it is "strongly recommended" in the guidance that they do.
Why are the rules in England changing?Since mid-May the public in England have been advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, such as supermarkets, where it can be difficult to follow social distancing rules.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there is growing evidence that wearing them helps protect individuals and those around them from the virus.
Making it compulsory sends a stronger signal to people about their value.
However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said there are no plans to make face coverings mandatory for office workers.
What are the face covering rules on public transport?Since 15 June, anyone travelling by bus, train, ferry or plane in England must wear a face covering.
Some passengers are exempt from the rules including:
People can be refused travel if they don't follow the rules, and can be fined as a last resort.
Public transport excludes cruise ships, school transport, taxis and private hire vehicles. However, ride-sharing company Uber has made face coverings compulsory.
In Scotland, it is also compulsory to wear face coverings on all public transport
Coverings will also be made mandatory on public transport in Wales from 27 July. These coverings should be three layers thick. It's also recommended that coverings are worn whenever social distancing is not possible.
The wearing of face coverings on most buses, trains and ferries became mandatory in Northern Ireland on 10 July.
How NOT to wear your face covering or mask?
Currently there are no drugs licensed for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19While several drug trials are ongoing, there is currently no proof that hydroxychloroquine or any other drug can cure or prevent COVID-19. The misuse of hydroxychloroquine can cause serious side effects and illness and even lead to death. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop and evaluate medicines to treat COVID-19.
Adding peppers or chilies to your soup or other meals DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19Hot peppers or chilies in your food, though very tasty, cannot prevent or cure COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is to keep at least 1 metre away from others and to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. It is also beneficial for your general health to maintain a balanced diet, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly and sleep well.
COVID-19 CAN NOT be transmitted through housefliesTo date, there is no evidence or information to suggest that the COVID-19 virus transmitted through houseflies. The virus that cause COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. You can also become infected by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands. To protect yourself, keep at least 1-metre distance from others and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces. Clean your hands thoroughly and often and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body WILL NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerousDo not under any circumstance spray or introduce bleach or any other disinfectant into your body. These substances can be poisonous if ingested and cause irritation and damage to your skin and eyes.
Bleach and disinfectant should be used carefully to disinfect surfaces only. Remember to keep chlorine (bleach) and other disinfectants out of reach of children.
Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19 and can be extremely dangerousMethanol, ethanol, and bleach are poisons. Drinking them can lead to disability and death. Methanol, ethanol, and bleach are sometimes used in cleaning products to kill the virus on surfaces – however you should never drink them. They will not kill the virus in your body and they will harm your internal organs.
To protect yourself against COVID-19, disinfect objects and surfaces, especially the ones you touch regularly. You can use diluted bleach or alcohol for that. Make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
Exposing yourself to the sun or to temperatures higher than 25C degrees DOES NOT prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)You can catch COVID-19, no matter how sunny or hot the weather is. Countries with hot weather have reported cases of COVID-19. To protect yourself, make sure you clean your hands frequently and thoroughly and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
You can recover from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Catching the new coronavirus DOES NOT mean you will have it for life.Most of the people who catch COVID-19 can recover and eliminate the virus from their bodies. If you catch the disease, make sure you treat your symptoms. If you have cough, fever, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early – but call your health facility by telephone first. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Being able to hold your breath for 10 seconds or more without coughing or feeling discomfort DOES NOT mean you are free from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or any other lung disease.The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, tiredness and fever. Some people may develop more severe forms of the disease, such as pneumonia. The best way to confirm if you have the virus-producing COVID-19 disease is with a laboratory test. You cannot confirm it with this breathing exercise, which can even be dangerous.
Drinking alcohol does not protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerousFrequent or excessive alcohol consumption can increase your risk of health problems.
COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climatesThe best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by maintaining physical distance of at least 1 metre from others and frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Cold weather and snow CANNOT kill the new coronavirus.There is no reason to believe that cold weather can kill the new coronavirus or other diseases. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. The most effective way to protect yourself against the new coronavirus is by frequently cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water.
Taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus diseaseTaking a hot bath will not prevent you from catching COVID-19. Your normal body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the temperature of your bath or shower. Actually, taking a hot bath with extremely hot water can be harmful, as it can burn you. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
The new coronavirus CANNOT be transmitted through mosquito bites.To date there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that the new coronavirus could be transmitted by mosquitoes. The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, avoid close contact with anyone who is coughing and sneezing.
Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.
Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skinUV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes.
Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing your hands with soap and water are the most effective ways to remove the virus.
How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.
However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.
Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.
The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.
Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.
Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.
There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.
The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.
Face Mask standards will no doubt be confusing to the majority of the general public – surgical masks, respirators, ffp3 or N95?
Standards & Effectiveness Overview
Certifications Change Country by Country
Many countries will use their own standards and certifications for each face mask type. For instance, the EU uses the EN 14683 standard for surgical face masks, but China uses the YY 0469 standard. Each standard varies a little by country, however, they are fairly similar.
Requirements Are Lowest for Single Use Masks
The face mask with the lowest requirements on filtration performance is the single-use face masks (not to be confused with surgical masks). Surgical masks have higher requirements, and respirators face masks have the highest requirements. Respirators masks often have a tighter fit around the face than both surgical masks and single-use face masks.
Rating Levels of Masks – N95, FFP1, FFP2 & FFP3
The ratings are for the filtration level of the face mask, as well as other things.
EN 149:2001+A1:2009 / ASTM F2100 / NIOSH
These are standards for face masks. They outline the rules and testing practices companies follow to rate their face masks. These mask standards define the N95, FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3.
When to use a mask
When & how to wear medical face masks to protect against coronavirus?
From the 15th June 2020, it is compulsory for everyone travelling on public transport in England to wear a face covering.
What is the rule around face masks?
The UK government recently updated its advice regarding the use of face masks to stop the spread of coronavirus, due to a sharp increase of people using public transport in order to commute back to work. The new government guidelines are now in sync with the World Health Organization’s advice.
The new rules apply to England and require anyone travelling by bus, coach, train, tram, Tube, ferry or plane to cover their face while on board.
They exclude school transport, taxis and private hire vehicles – whilst Uber has made face coverings compulsory for its passengers and drivers.
The main focus of the new measures is to help stop and reduce the asymptomatic people transmitting the virus on to others and also act as a visible reminder of the need for distancing and hygiene measures such as handwashing.
How will the rule be enforced?
The government announced that under new conditions, fines may be issued for anyone seen to be flouting the face-covering rule.
People not wearing a mask or face covering will be asked to wear one or could be refused access to public transport and fined £100.
Some stations are handing out free disposable masks, while announcements and signage remind commuters of the new rules in force.
Over 3,000 extra staff, including police, have been deployed at stations to enforce the new rules.