Have your say: Will you wear a face mask beyond 21 June?

·Freelance Writer
·2-min read

With COVID restrictions set to end on 21 June, scientists are suggesting people should continue to wear face masks to help keep the pandemic under control.

Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown intends to see an end to many rules that have been in place for the past year – including social distancing.

However, scientists at the universities of Cambridge and Liverpool recommend that face coverings – currently compulsory in shops and on public transport – should continue to be used to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The scientists modelled examples of “non-spatial” control measures including face masks, hand washing and social distancing, and “spatial interventions” including lockdown and the restriction of long-distance travel.

Study author Dr Yevhen Suprunenko, a research associate in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences, said measures such as wearing face coverings, used properly alongside the vaccine rollout, could help to achieve a better outcome.

He said: “More effective use of control measures like face masks and hand washing would help us to stop the pandemic faster, or to get better results in halting transmission through the vaccination programme.

“This also means we could avoid another potential lockdown.”

Co-author Dr Stephen Cornell from the University of Liverpool said that while lockdowns might have a bigger impact, face masks are cheaper actions people can take.

The government has set out several stages of lockdown easing, which will see the gradual opening of non-essential shops, gyms, restaurants and pubs before the planned ending of all restrictions on 21 June.

With most shops now open but with retail sales suffering due to the Coronavirus pandemic, face maks for sale on mannequin heads, which became compulsory in shops on the 24th July, go out shopping on Kings Heath High Street on 31st July 2020 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. While much or Europe has been placed into lockdown, the UK government has put in place more stringent rules as part of their long term strategy, and in particular social distancing. (photo by Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images)
Face masks for sale in Kings Heath High Street in Birmingham. (Getty)

On Saturday a group of anti-mask protesters staged a “face-covering free shopping trip” to a Tesco branch in Chelmsford, Essex. 

The Department of Health and Social Care guidance states that masks are “largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission".

Read more: 4 COVID measures which will be here to stay... even when the pandemic is over

Watch: How England will leave lockdown

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