UK health minister says will not be recommending masks in offices

Credit: REUTERS/JESSICA TAYLOR/HOC

British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the government would not be recommending that people wear face masks in offices, after speculation that rules for work places could follow shops.

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LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - British Health Minister Matt Hancock said that the government would not be recommending that people wear face masks in offices, after speculation that rules for work places could follow shops.

"We will not be recommending masks in the office," Hancock told Sky News on Wednesday.

Shoppers in England will have to wear face coverings in shops and supermarkets from July 24 to help reduce the risk of a new pick-up in the spread of the coronavirus, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Hancock told the BBC that the government had looked at making wearing masks in offices but rejected the idea on the basis that if people spend a long time together, face coverings do not offer protection.

"It's interaction with people who you aren't normally with, and that's where the mask can be particularly helpful," he said.

Face coverings are already compulsory on public transport in England.

The Telegraph newspaper reported earlier on Wednesday that the government could soon recommend face coverings in all public places including offices and other workplaces.

Asked about the report on the BBC, Hancock said: "No... It's something that we've looked at and rejected."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, writing by Sarah Young, editing by Alistair Smout)

((sarah.young@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 1109; Reuters Messaging: sarah.young.thomsonreuters@reuters.net))

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