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Covid-19: Masks - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:20 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Blencathra Lord Blencathra Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee 4:20 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, it seems that there are two ways to protect oneself and others from the virus. One is distance and the other is face masks and hand washing. Face masks seem to give limited protection to the wearer of the mask from inhaling the virus from others, while giving much more protection to others who do not get exhaled upon. The further the distance the lower the risk, and that risk increases until one is up really close. If two metres is regarded as the safe distance without a mask—except in closely confined public transport—then it seems a no-brainer to reduce the distance to one metre and insist on face masks for all out in public, as the noble Lord, Lord Skidelsky, said. This is a sensible compromise, giving as little risk as possible while opening up the economy. Therefore, we should reduce the distance to one metre and make it compulsory to wear a mask.