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A “thousand people” could die if Welsh Government don’t act on face masks” according to Plaid Cymru

Written by on 15th July 2020

A “thousand” could die if the Welsh Government do not change their policy on face masks, Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has suggested.

He was referring to a study by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation which recently projected the difference between universal use of face masks in the UK between now and November would be 20,000 additional deaths.

On a proportionate basis that would be around a thousand deaths in Wales.

Mr Price called on the First Minister to refer his technical advisory cell and the Chief Medical Officer to the study to see whether it should inform a change of policy.

The Plaid Cymru Leader said that to protect the public in only a handful of settings “does not make sense”.

Last week a study published by the Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science found that face coverings are effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19, for the wearer and those around them.

To date, more than 120 nations now require mask wearing –more than 60% of the world. Face masks are now mandatory in Scotland on public transport and in shops.

The same is true of England in terms of public transport and will apply to shops from the 24th of July.

Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,

“The First Minister’s cautious approach has served Wales well in many ways, but we are now treading the line between being safe and being too slow. Why is Wales being left behind when it comes to face masks?

“The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation recently projected the difference between universal use of face masks in the UK between now and November would be 20,000 additional deaths. On a proportionate basis that would be around a thousand deaths in Wales.

“The First Minister must ask his technical advisory cell and the Chief Medical Officer to look at that study to see whether it should inform a change of policy.

“Because what we know about coronavirus is that it is more likely to be spread in an indoor setting, and that it is still in community transmission in Wales. To protect the public in only a handful of settings does not make sense. 

“I’m calling on Welsh Government again to make the wearing of masks mandatory in indoor public spaces such as in shops, and to bring this in as a matter of urgency. If they do not do this, then as many as 1000 people in Wales could die.”