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UK News Face masks: How EU countries have embraced face coverings in pandemic to bring down the Covid infection rate

03:07  14 october  2021
03:07  14 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

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During the COVID -19 pandemic , face masks , such as surgical masks and cloth masks , have been employed as a public and personal health control measure against the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

We talked to UCSF epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD, and infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD, about the CDC’s reversal on mask -wearing, the current science on how masks work, and what to consider when choosing a mask . As states reopen from stay-at-home orders, many, including California, are now requiring people to wear face coverings in most public spaces to reduce the spread of COVID -19. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization now recommend cloth masks for the general public, but earlier in the pandemic

As Britain was warned by a Government adviser to wear masks again to stop the spread of Covid-19, flu and colds this winter, across the Channel, EU nations are generally keener to put on face coverings to fight the pandemic.

Susan Michie, a member of scientific advisory board Sage, criticised ministers for failing to enforce the wearing of masks in indoor crowded spaces and said face coverings were vital for keeping people out of the health service over the winter.

Here are the rules for, and attitudes to, the wearing of face masks in four EU countries.

Spain

Spaniards must cover their faces if they are inside or cannot guarantee a social distance of more than 1.5 metres. Masks ceased to be compulsory outside in June but many people still wear them.

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Face coverings could become a legal requirement in certain settings in England again, if the NHS comes under "unsustainable pressure" this winter. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the measure was part of the government's contingency planning. Announcing the government's Covid "Autumn and Winter Plan", the health secretary said face coverings would continue to be recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces and warned they could be legally required once again as part of contingency measures. Mr Javid said other "Plan B" measures could include asking people to work at home again for a time and

The initially low coronavirus infection rate in some Asian countries was not due to masks , but due to very rapid border controls. For instance, Japan, despite its widespread use of face masks , had experienced its most recent influenza epidemic just one year prior to the covid pandemic . Face masks in the general population might be effective, at least in some circumstances, but there is currently little to no evidence supporting this proposition. If the coronavirus is indeed transmitted via indoor aerosols, face masks are unlikely to be protective. Health authorities should therefore not

Carolina Darias, Spain’s health minister, said last week that despite a fall in coronavirus contagion rates, mask restrictions indoors would remain until spring next year.

Maria Cardona Ribas, who has had a transplant, receives a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 in Ibiza, Spain (Photo: Zowy Voeten/Getty Images) © Provided by The i Maria Cardona Ribas, who has had a transplant, receives a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine against Covid-19 in Ibiza, Spain (Photo: Zowy Voeten/Getty Images)

Spain’s 14-day Covid-19 contagion rate fell to 46 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to health ministry data on Tuesday – the lowest since July 2020.

Some 77 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated. The fall in the infection rate combined with the success of the vaccination programme have led to the reopening of discos and sports stadiums with no limits on capacity.

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Some countries already recommend or mandate face coverings in public. The WHO had previously argued there was not enough evidence to say that healthy people should wear masks . Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical lead expert on Covid -19, told Reuters news agency the recommendation was for people to wear a "fabric mask - that is, a non-medical mask ". Fabric masks should consist of "at least three layers of different material" in order to be effective, the WHO says.

Face coverings are not classified as PPE (personal protective equipment) which is used in a limited number of settings to protect wearers against hazards and risks, such as surgical masks or respirators used in medical and industrial settings. Wearing a face covering can reduce the risk to others and yourself against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of the virus that causes coronavirus infection ( COVID -19). You are expected and recommended to continue wearing a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces

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“Without a doubt, the combination of wearing masks and the fast vaccination programme has brought the coronavirus contagion rate down in Spain,” Àlex Arenas, an expert in public health at the University of Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, told i.

“It is the most efficient and cheap way to combat the pandemic. People have the habit of wearing masks outside and inside.”

He added that research showed “once people stop doing things like wearing masks it is hard to get them to go back”.

France

France lifted the requirement to wear a face mask outside in October but it is still compulsory to cover your face inside.

Most people abide by the law when they go to supermarkets, bars or meetings inside but few wear face coverings outside, according to anecdotal evidence.

Last week, armed French police boarded a London-bound Eurostar and arrested a British passenger after a train manager accused him of wearing the “wrong type of mask”.

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cloth masks or face coverings could be effective at flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection . If the data are limited, how can we say face coverings are likely not effective? We agree that the data supporting the effectiveness of a cloth mask or face covering are very limited. The CDC failed to reference the National Academies of Sciences Rapid Expert Consultation on the Effectiveness of Fabric Masks for the COVID -19 Pandemic (NAS 2020), which concludes, “The evidence from…laboratory filtration studies suggests that such fabric masks may reduce the

Sweden's government is recommending wearing face masks on public transport during the rush hour, reversing its earlier Covid guidance. It will also cut from the current eight to four per table the number of people sitting together in restaurants, and ban alcohol sales after 20:00. Sweden, which has never imposed a full lockdown, has seen nearly 360,000 cases and 8,000 deaths - many more than its Scandinavian neighbours. The country had previously been one of only a few nations not to recommend masks in public outside of healthcare settings. This is despite strong recommendations given by the World Health

The unidentified man, who was taken off the train after it made an emergency stop in Lille, northern France, protested he had not done anything wrong.

A poll published earlier this month for Le Parisien newspaper showed that 74 per cent of French workers want the government to lift the enforcement of mask-wearing inside, but the health ministry says it is too soon.

At present, mask-wearing is compulsory in all jobs where workers are indoors and work vehicles carrying more than one person at a time. In outside workshops, masks are not necessary unless there is insufficient ventilation.

Italy

Masks stopped being compulsory in the summer and only a minority now cover their faces in open areas, but the law still requires Italians to wear them inside.

“I would say only 20 per cent of people wear masks outside. People put them on when they are approaching crowded areas,” Luca Zanini, a journalist with Corriere della Sella newspaper based in Rome, told i.

A man readjusts his mask as he waits to vote at a polling station for the municipal elections in Rome (Photo: Filippo Monteforte/ AFP) © Provided by The i A man readjusts his mask as he waits to vote at a polling station for the municipal elections in Rome (Photo: Filippo Monteforte/ AFP)

Businesses warned of chaos in Italy as all workers will be required to show a coronavirus pass from Friday – one of the world’s toughest anti-Covid-19 measures, and one which has caused riots.

More than 85 per cent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, making them eligible for the Green Pass certificate.

But according to surveys, about 2.5 million of Italy’s 23 million workers are unvaccinated and could be denied work from 15 October.

Ireland

It is compulsory to wear masks in shops and on public transport and but it has never been a legal requirement to wear masks outside.

At the height of the pandemic, most people wore masks when they went out but now the majority of the population have done away with face coverings outside. In offices, workers still wear masks but can remove coverings when they are at their desks.

The Irish government will remove the last Covid-19 restrictions on 22 October but across the border in Northern Ireland and in Scotland and Wales it is still compulsory to wear masks inside.

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Edward Argar insisted that England's hospitals still have a 'degree of headroom' despite rising case numbers and growing pressure in the health service for face masks and WFH.Edward Argar insisted that hospitals still have a 'degree of headroom' despite rising case numbers and growing pressure in the health service for face masks, vaccine passports and other measures to be introduced.

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This is interesting!