Half of Britons want the government to make facemasks compulsory when coronavirus lockdown is eased – and 37% believe ministers are dodging the move due to shortages
- London mayor Sadiq Khan has backed calls for facemasks to be worn in public
- Ministers have warned they could be counterproductive and it is not right time
- Poll for MailOnline found 48 per cent would support making them compulsory
- Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID
Half of Britons want the government to make face masks compulsory if lockdown is eased, it was revealed today.
A poll for MailOnline found 48 per cent believe the step should be taken to restrict the spread of the killer virus when curbs start to be lifted.
Some 37 per cent thought the move had not been implemented so far because of shortages in the UK, according to the by Redfield & Wilton strategies research conducted this week.
The findings emerged amid an extraordinary row between senior politicians over whether masks should be used.
A poll for MailOnline found 48 per cent believe the step should be taken to restrict the spread of the killer virus when curbs start to be lifted
London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed the idea this morning, saying he is lobbying the Government to change its advice to add ‘another layer of protection’ to members of the public.
‘I’m keen to ensure that everyone is safe,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘And that’s why I could well, when I return to being in a confined space, be carrying Covid-19.
‘And that’s why to avoid me inadvertently giving it someone else when I cough, when I sneeze, with the droplets going out, I will wear a non-medical facial covering, to stop myself inadvertently giving somebody else the virus.
‘For this to be effective, all of us will have to wear the covering in those sorts of circumstances.’
But Transport Secretary Grant Shapps dismissed the call, saying it ‘could be counterproductive’ and is not ‘the right moment’ to encourage people to wear masks.
Doctors have suggested wearing masks might give a false sense of security, and heighten risk as people would touch their faces more.
He told BBC Breakfast: ‘Rather than jump to the incorrect conclusion and do more harm than good, I think it’s right to ask the scientists to provide guidance on it.’
Speaking on LBC, he added: ”It is not the right moment to instruct people, as I saw the London Mayor do this morning, to wear them if we are not certain yet that they are going to be advantageous.
‘In fact, he wrote to me about this and said in his letter he recognises that it could be counterproductive, so I don’t think we should be in that space right at this moment.’
Mr Shapps added: ‘I’m slightly confused by the approach and I will be writing back to him simply to say we’ve got the subcommittee of Sage, that’s the scientific advisory emergency committee, who are looking at this at the moment – so let’s let them tell us which is the best scientific approach because there are pluses and minuses to wearing masks.’
According to the Refield poll 54 per cent thought the masks policy had not been put in place so far because ministers did not believe it was effective.
Commuters Travel on London’s underground network this morning. One is seen using a mask and another has his scarf around his face
London Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) suggested today it should be compulsory for people to wear masks in public