Transport users not wearing face masks correctly, expert warns

Passengers wearing face masks at Leeds railway station
Passengers wearing face masks at Leeds railway station - (Copyright PA Wire)
8:35am, Sun 21 Jun 2020
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Many public transport users in England are not wearing their face masks and coverings correctly, an expert has warned.

The wearing of face coverings has been mandatory on public transport in England since June 14.

Professor Susan Michie, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ (Sage) subgroup on behavioural science, said many commuters are not aware of how to correctly cover their face and are unknowingly putting themselves and those around them at risk.

According to the gov.uk website, a face covering “should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably”.

“Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off,” the website advises.

“Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 15, 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

“Do not touch the front of the face covering or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.”

However, Prof Michie has told The Sunday Telegraph that many people appear to be wearing their face coverings below the nose and holding the front of items to remove them, rather than using the straps behind the head.

She told the paper: “Any time one goes out and around in parks and down the street this is the sort of thing you see.”

Prof Michie added a national campaign might be needed to “train” people on how to wear their face coverings correctly.

“I think the main thing is that where you have a behaviour that requires some kind of skill, and some kind of routine and procedure to make it effective, then usually it’s not enough to say do this, ie transmit knowledge, but we also need to have training,” she told the Telegraph.

“If it’s a question of skills, ie the behaviour surrounding the putting on, off and wearing of (face coverings), then it does require skills training.”

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