THE Welsh Government has up to now refused to recommend the wearing of face coverings. But after his call in the Senedd last week for a rethink on that position and for Ministers to apply overwhelming international evidence supporting their use, Rhun ap Iorwerth said he is hoping for a positive update.
Growing scientific evidence on the effectiveness of face coverings in the fight to stamp out coronavirus had prompted Plaid Cymru to repeat previous calls on the Welsh Government to encourage the use of face coverings. In the Senedd, Mr ap Iorwerth quoted one recent paper by the University of California San Diego, and the National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan, which noted that the virus can remain infectious indoors for hours, and that ‘measures designed to reduce aerosol transmission must be implemented, including universal masking’. Mr ap Iorwerth was told that the latest evidence would be considered by the Welsh Government.
Later in the week, British Medical Association (BMA) Wales appealed for a change in policy too, saying that “there still remains a considerable risk of infection, and emerging evidence has shown that if mouths and noses are covered when people are in areas where they cannot socially distance, it may help in controlling the spread of infection of COVID-19 and therefore save lives.
Then the World Health Organisation updated its guidance too, highlighting the benefits of face coverings.
Rhun ap Iorwerth Shadow Minister for Health said:
“I look forward to a new statement by the Welsh Government outlining the latest advice they’ve received and how they’ll review their policy as a result. We need clear guidance.
“I think the evidence is now overwhelming that whilst the wearing of face-covering isn’t enough on its own, it can be a real help in the fight against coronavirus for coverings to be worn in some public spaces.
“Further updated guidance from the WHO has added to a long list of substantial, credible evidence that face coverings can be an impactful addition to strategy in reducing coronavirus transmissions.”