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Covid-19: Masks - Question for Short Debate

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:28 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill Labour 4:28 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, I too welcome the Government’s sadly rather late decision to advise the mandatory wearing of face coverings on public transport from next Monday. The Mayor of London had recommended this two months ago at the height of the pandemic, when drivers were already dying.

I asked on two occasions in late April when Ministers would consider encouraging the public to wear coverings, only to be told that there was insufficient scientific evidence to do so. Surely the Government must regret taking so long to make this recommendation. No one is suggesting that masks are a cure but, as SAGE said on 20 April:

“Wearing facemasks outside the house could complement existing government messaging of social responsibility”.

They could have helped to provide protection from others who showed no symptoms but were infectious. It is regrettable that the Government have again been too slow to act, disregarding lessons from abroad.