Boris Johnson just went on live TV to stress the importance of face masks, while not wearing one

Tobi Akingbade
Monday 13 July 2020 13:45
news

Boris Johnson has urged the public to wear face coverings while not wearing a face covering himself.

The prime minister said an announcement that people should be wearing face coverings in shops and said that news on whether their use will be compulsory in England will be known in the coming days.

Obviously wearing a face covering is not yet an obligation, but the juxtaposition of Johnson encouraging it while remaining maskless himself did not go unnoticed.

People had a lot to say.

Elsewhere in Johnson’s announcement, he said that ministers are considering what “tools of enforcement” could be employed as he described the evidence to support their use to slow the spread of coronavirus as “growing”.

Downing Street said on Monday that a formal review was underway after the government faced calls for clarity on the subject. It is clear people are feeling a little more than confused now.

But on Sunday, Michael Gove had said it was “best to trust people’s common sense” rather than force them to adopt coverings, despite the PM earlier saying he would support “stricter” measures.

Now, Labour has called on the government to address the “confusion” around the use of non-surgical masks “without delay”.

The situation wasn’t helped as some social media users noted that Home Secretary Priti Patel was wearing a mask outside an appointment with her French counterpart and then removed it while indoors. The bizarre optics have left people scratching their heads.

Currently, official UK government guidance states that evidence around wearing a face covering suggests it "does not protect you" from coronavirus.

But the guidance adds: "If you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with."

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