Face Coverings Mask Update

Posted on 24th September, 2020


The government has updated its face mask guidance today, 24 September 2020 (PDF) and added more exemptions as compared to the July 20 and Nov21 (Education FE and Schools) version. 


With the confusion regarding whether face masks can protect people in some circumstances, but not others, our local MP, John Penrose, responded in July and August to a number of pertinent questions. For example, stating:

  • Q1. As of 19 March 2020 (the week before lockdown), COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK (see Blog)
  • Q1+ The stated non-governmental explanation referenced by the MP still doesn't explain that if the current COVID19 death toll is < 0.06% (42K/68million*100), and that if "Covid-19 does now appear to have a much lower case fatality rate than the other diseases on the HCID list. It is also now much easier to identify, with greater testing capacity than there was in January", why are there such extreme measures being taken by the government? Compare with Sweden, that didn't lockdown, and WHO statistics for Sweden (graph) and the UK (The graph shows that the current huge rise in cases is not resulting in a corresponding huge rise in deaths)
  • Q2. It seems that a formal medical and/or COVID19 impact assessment has not, and does not, need to be undertaken by the government until after a year has passed? (See also COVID19 Memorandum extracts, especially re: small business)
  • Q4. The MP response avoided answering the question regarding the harmful effects of wearing a face mask/covering, focussing on exemptions instead (See harms stated by the World Health Organisation)
  • Q5. The Teaching Unions did not advocate universal wearing of masks
  • Q6. "It's not clear on what grounds a school could actually enforce a blanket rule requiring pupils to wear face masks, short of new legislation being passed ..." (See current Face Coverings in Education - (26 Aug PDF)
  • Q7&8. Face coverings are not a medical device (PPE), and so mask makers must meet the existing safety requirements (PDFv4), For example:
    • "... there should be no claim to the effect that the face covering has been manufactured with the intention of offering protection (a) to users from risks to health and safety (whether COVID-19, pollution, pollen or dust) and/or (b) to people other than the wearer from risks to their health and safety." [So what is the point in wearing them?]
    • "A safe product is one which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, does not present any risk,..."
    • "The producer will need to demonstrate it has assessed and taken action to mitigate the risks inherent in the product throughout normal or reasonably foreseeable uses." For example, hypoxia, especially if worn for long periods of time and WHO statement above.
  • Mask wearing as a means to 'kickstart the economy back into life". Supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating, "... potential social and economic benefits ... Moreover, the production of non-medical masks may offer a source of income for those able to manufacture masks ..."


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