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Coronavirus: Protective Clothing

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL1852, tabled on 8 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any recommendation from SAGE regarding continued mask-wearing after the lifting of other pandemic restrictions; and what assessment they have made of the effect of (1) mask wearing on the spread of disease, and (2) increased mortality on UK greenhouse gas emissions.

Answered on

2 August 2021

The Government has reviewed the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies’ (SAGE) advice in relation to face coverings. This advice states that in determining what measures to retain, a choice must be made in terms of the epidemiological risks and the societal and economic impacts of measures. In April 2021, SAGE concluded that face coverings could help with decreasing the transmission risk from a potentially infectious person. However, they should be used in combination with other measures to be fully effective and mitigate risk.

Following the success of the vaccination programme, the Government has decided to move away from legal restrictions, including the requirement to wear face coverings, towards personal responsibility and informed judgement. In line with SAGE’s advice, the Government’s guidance remains that wearing a face covering can reduce the risk of transmission. We recommend that people continue to wear face coverings particularly where the risk of transmission is likely to be greater, such as indoor and crowded enclosed or poor ventilated spaces.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of increased mortality on the United Kingdom’s greenhouse gas emissions.