Unscrupulous business owners have attempted to peddle dodgy face masks during the coronavirus crisis.
It is not compulsory to wear a mask yet, but the Government says it is monitoring the situation continuously.
On Monday Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, said: “The evidence is much more persuasive for masks stopping you giving it to somebody than it is for you preventing you catching it.
“We have a review ongoing at the moment on the evidence around masks.
“If that review concludes that the position should change, we will of course make that recommendation and if it stays the same we will make that clear as well.”
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has also urged residents not to buy PPE from shops and outlets that do not have the CE mark on them.
It comes as trading standards officers confiscated face masks that had been on sale in a store in the city that did not comply with the CE safety standard.
Councillor Abi Brown, the council leader, said: “The CE mark shows that items conform to health, safety and environmental protection standards. Products without that mark may not be safe and may not give any protection.
“We urge all residents to check before they buy and if they have any concerns to please report it to our teams.”
Here’s a few simple rules to follow on facemasks to protect yourself or your staff during the pandemic:
- Homemade masks will almost certainly not be effective
- Non-regulation masks, without a CE mark, should not be used
- Masks that do fit your face with a tight seal will not be 100 per cent effective
What are the best masks to buy?
The two main types of medical-grade face mask on sale in the UK are the FFP3 and FFP2 masks – this is what doctors and nurses use.
FFP stands for Face Filtering Protection and FFP3 is the highest grade. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends FFP2 as a minimum standard.
N95 masks do not have the CE mark to show compliance with European safety standards, but have been tested against similar standards.
N stands for not resistant to oil, meaning fluids, but 95 means 95 per cent of particles can be filtered out.
When to use a mask?
The WHO guidance says to use a mask if:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected Covid-19 infection
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly
The council has set up a page on its website for businesses to make PPE donations: www.stoke.gov.uk.
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