Who should wear masks and what type of mask? Dr Hilary clears up confusion

Dr. Hilary Jones stressed masks should be prioritised for frontline staff, the NHS and patients during the coronavirus lockdown.

As it stands, expert opinion seems to be divided. Some countries such as Singapore are implementing fines for anyone found not to be wearing a mask in public while other nations aren’t convinced they’re effective at all. 

The UK’s government guidelines suggest people don’t need to cover faces if they’re going to the supermarket or pharmacy – but those rules will be subject to review.  

During today’s Good Morning Britain, Dr Hilary cleared up confusion for viewers and told Lorraine Kelly that front line staff, those who work in critical care, their patients and those showing Covid-19 symptoms need to be wearing the best quality masks.

The 66-year-old clarified what masks are out there and who they should be worn by. 

‘For critical care workers they wear fitted masks, they have to be fitted to the face to make sure they’re efficient and there’s no leakage,’ he explained. 

‘Then we have the N-95 masks, these are like respirators. They’re better than the ordinary surgical masks that ordinary doctors wear. They cost around £7, you can get them less, some people are charging more at the moment. Those are for clinical settings. 

‘Then you have the ordinary surgical masks that doctors and nurses wear which are polyester or tissue paper but they have to be used carefully. When you put them on you still have to make sure they’re still sterile: you wash your hands before you put them on, before you take them off. If they get moist you have to bin them.’

For the rest of us, masks are in short supply and needed for those risking their lives on the front line. In turn, millions have been using scarves and cloths to cover their faces. According to Dr Hilary, don’t bother.

‘You could drive a bus through those holes and the virus is one 10,000th of a millimetre across,’ he insisted.

Dr Hilary assured if people are social distancing, then that should be enough for now.

‘However, people who are in public-facing roles – checkout staff, delivery staff, bus drivers – those sorts of people using public transport there will be a use for a mask because you can’t then socially distance. 

‘So if you cannot social distance you should be wearing a mask – if you can get hold of one.’

At the time of writing, 13, 729 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, while it’s been confirmed the country faces at least another three weeks of lockdown.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV. 

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