In Brief

What are the Scottish government’s recommendations on face masks?

Nicola Sturgeon advises people to wear covering in shops and other enclosed public places

The Scottish government has advised people to cover their faces while in some enclosed public spaces, such as shops and public transport.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that though it was “not a substitute” for lockdown restrictions, there could be “some benefit” in wearing face covering in sites where coronavirus social distancing was tricky.

She said she was referring to cloth garments such as scarves rather than the “medical grade facemasks” like those used by health and care workers.

Sturgeon said: “To be clear, the benefit comes mainly in cases where someone might have the virus but is not aware of that because they are not experiencing symptoms and thus not isolating completely.

“Wearing a face covering in those circumstances may reduce the risk of that person transmitting the virus to others.”

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The Scottish government’s advice states: “When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face.

“After each use, you must wash the face covering at 60 degrees centigrade, or dispose of it safely.”

The guidance also states that masks are “not being made mandatory and will not be enforced at this stage”.

The BBC’s science editor, David Shukman, says “dozens of governments are now urging - or ordering - their citizens to cover their faces in an effort to reduce this route of infection”.

Face masks are set to be compulsory on public transport in Germany, and in stores in Austria. Residents of Lombardy in Italy must cover their nose and mouth when outside.

But the Daily Express says the recommendation sees Sturgeon “defy” official coronavirus advice from Downing Street.

Number 10 said the government is still considering the scientific evidence for introducing similar advice. “Once a decision has been reached then we'll announce it publicly,” it said. 

However, Michael Gove has revealed Britain is producing more cloth face coverings, which The Sun says suggests the advice “will go UK-wide in the near future”.

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