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Face masks could be made mandatory as part of Boris Johnson’s winter plan, leading scientist warns

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Face masks could be made mandatory in certain settings to reduce the spread of the coronavirus during the winter, a prominent scientist has said.

Boris Johnson is due to unveil his plan to fight the virus in the winter months on Tuesday, with speculation the Prime Minister will likely focus on vaccines rather than lockdowns to prevent an upsurge in the virus.

University of Edinburgh public health expert Professor Linda Bauld has suggested the Prime Minister may announce the reintroduction of mandatory masks in certain settings if the coronavirus picture deteriorates.

I think the first step for the prime minister will probably be to say, well, if things go downhill there will be guidelines, for example, mandatory face coverings could come back in more contexts although they still are needed in many places, she told Sky News.

Professor Bauld also said people could be encouraged to work from home again soon after thousands returned to the office, but added that another lockdown was unlikely.

There may be tips for people to work from home if they can, and the focus will be on things like ventilation and observing the environment, but like I said I would be surprised if there were a lot of restrictions.

The Prime Minister is also expected to approve Covid booster jabs for older groups that will start within the next fortnight.

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The measures will try to prevent a coronavirus outbreak during the winter, when transmission becomes easier as people spend more time indoors with windows closed.

The winter months always bring a spike in pressure on the NHS as illnesses such as the flu spread and health services already face a backlog of appointments due to the pandemic.

An NHS chief saidIthat hospitals could face one of the toughest winters on record with rising Covid admissions, record waiting lists, flu and staff issues from the pandemic.

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