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‘Cover your face to stop spread of Covid-19’, says FM

Aldi shopper in mask

Shopper wearing mask outside Aldi (pic: Terry Murden)

People should cover their faces in shops, on public transport and in other enclosed places to halt the spread of coronavirus, said Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister emphasised that the guidance was not compulsory and that it applied mainly to indoor spaces where it is difficult to keep a safe social distance.

She felt there was some evidence that it could help to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19.

Ms Sturgeon said one reason for not making it mandatory was to avoid causing distress to children.

The face coverings should include scarves, but not clinical face masks used by medical staff.

In a statement, the Scottish Government said: “There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.

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“As some people can have the virus but experience no symptoms (asymptomatic infection), wearing a face covering (in these situations) may provide some level of protection against transmission to other people in close proximity.”

A further 70 deaths of people in Scotland who had tested positive for the virus have been registered, bringing the total under that measure to 1,332.

Wider statistics including deaths where Covid-19 was a suspected cause will be published on Wednesday.

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Our members have invested significantly over a very short period in social distancing and other health and hygiene measures in order to protect staff and customers, and will continue to ensure colleagues in stores and warehouses have the necessary protection as advised by government.

“We have previously written to Ministers to say that if there are to be changes to the necessary protection required for shopworkers, then we would ask government to engage with us at the earliest opportunity so we can understand what’s required and the timeframe for implementation. 

“This would allow sufficient time to place orders and acquire stock, critical as PPE supply chains are already stretched.”

Comment: Prepare for a return to work, but not as we knew it

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