COVID-19 face covering advice

People in Liverpool are being advised to follow new government guidance in relation to wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

New advice published this week by the government recommends the public consider wearing face coverings in shops, on Merseyrail trains and on buses to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, which has so far led to the death of more than 400 people in Liverpool’s hospitals.

People are being urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, but instead to make their own face coverings at home using a scarf or other textile items.

They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices and retail, by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering.

Instead the public is encouraged to make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items that many will already own. Instructions can be found here.

The most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus remains following social distancing rules and washing your hands regularly.

Wearing a face mask does not remove the need to self-isolate if you have symptoms.

Wearing a face covering

· A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

· Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off and after use. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

· Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.

· You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

· When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends

Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Matt Ashton, said: “It is really important that people understand that this is just one element of the advice we must all follow, and that face coverings are to protect others from risk of infection from you.

“It does not remove the need to follow social distancing guidelines and stay more than two metres away from each other, or self isolate at home if we have symptoms of COVID19.

“Please remember to use the coverings properly, to wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off, so as to prevent the virus and other germs spreading in a different way.

“Collectively, all of this action will help protect you and your loved ones from the risks of catching and passing on the virus.”

Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for public health, said: “As more people start travelling around the city it is really important we take account of the very latest guidance to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

“For those who can’t walk or cycle, we know that usage of public transport and shops is likely to increase in the coming weeks so it is really important that we all do our bit and play our part in reducing the risk of the virus being passed to others.”

“Liverpool has been one of the places hardest hit by coronavirus, and hundreds of families are grieving the loss of loved ones who have gone too soon. It is incumbent on us all to take responsibility for our own actions and do our bit in tackling this dreadful illness.”