Coronavirus UK: 'Our understanding of face mask effectiveness is evolving'

"And that's been the position of many countries who have advocated using face masks.

"The other key point is medical masks and respirators are really reserved for healthcare staff on the front line that need it the most – that’s a really important measure, because there is such a supply shortage in many countries."

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, said on Monday the UK position on masks was under review and would change if the scientific evidence warranted it.

This followed remarks by David Nabarro, a UN special envoy on COVID-19, who appeared to depart from the WHO’s line by suggesting the UK would have to get used to wearing masks.

He told the BBC: “The virus isn’t going to go away and we don’t know if people who have had the virus stay immune afterwards.

“Yes, we will have to wear masks.”

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