First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has advised people in Scotland to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces, such as on public transport and in shops.
The extent to which face coverings and face masks can prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus is highly debated, but official Scottish Government guidance has now said that wearing cloth coverings such as scarves may help to prevent transmission of the virus.
The wearing of face coverings will be optional, not mandatory. The Scottish government has stressed that surgical face masks should be reserved for NHS staff and other key health workers.
The wearing of face masks is now compulsory in some countries, including Germany. Other countries have advised their citizens to wear face coverings in certain areas, in particular on public transport.
The UK government is not expected to announce similar advice today.
Speaking at a Press Conference on Tuesday, the First Minister said people must continue to abide by existing lockdown and social distancing measures, saying that “face coverings are not, I repeat, not a substitute for any of that.” Ms Sturgeon added;
“The guidance also makes clear that the evidence on the use of face coverings is still limited. However it recognises that there may be some benefit in wearing a face covering if you leave the house and enter an enclosed space where you will come into contact with multiple people and social distancing is difficult, for example on public transport or in shops.”
Young children, and people with medical conditions such as asthma are advised against wearing face coverings.
According to the latest figures, over 6,060 people are confirmed to have died in Scotland after contracting COVID-19.