To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of face masks in controlling the transmission of covid-19.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
1 March 2021
In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) completed a rapid review of the evidence related to face coverings in the community and COVID-19 and concluded that “the beneficial effects of wearing masks may be increased when combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as hand washing and social distancing.” A second review, published in January 2021, found evidence consistent with the findings of the first review, that the use of face coverings in the community helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, PHE continue to advocate the same measures of wearing face coverings in specified community settings, alongside social distancing and good hand hygiene. We keep our face covering policy under review, guided by the advice of our scientific and medical experts.