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Coronavirus pandemic: public use of face coverings
Created: 29/04/2020, Updated: 30/04/2020
The Scottish Government has published guidance on the personal use of face coverings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.
The evidence on the use of face coverings is limited, but there may be some benefit in wearing a facial covering when you leave the house and enter enclosed spaces, especially where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet. Examples include, travelling on public transport or entering a food shop where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from another customer. There is no evidence to suggest there might be a benefit outdoors, unless in an unavoidable crowded situation, where there may be some benefit.
Some people can have the virus but experience no symptoms (asymptomatic infection), so wearing a face covering in the situations outlined above may provide some level of protection against transmission to other people in close proximity.