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Coronavirus: Protective Clothing

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 46649, tabled on 13 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what public health guidance has been issued on (a) how (i) masks and (ii) gloves should be used by people on public transport, (b) how those masks and gloves should be worn and (c) whether hand washing should also be conducted.

This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.

Answered on

29 May 2020

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies considered the very limited evidence available on the use of face coverings and advised that there was some positive benefit for reducing the transmission of COVID-19. However, the main ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are social distancing and washing hands regularly. Therefore, gloves are not recommended as it is more effective to wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, and to ensure that you do not touch your face. Gloves may provide a false sense of confidence to people wearing them, who then pay less attention to these important actions.

The Government is now advising wearing a face covering in situations where it is difficult to manage social distancing and there may be close contact with people the wearer would not usually meet, for example on public transport.

Instructions on how to make and use a face covering are available at the following link:

Further guidance on the use of face coverings is available at the following link:

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.