A World Health Organisation (WHO) lead has urged world leaders to wear a mask, just days after prime minister Boris Johnson was seen maskless during a hospital visit.
Johnson had been seen posing with masked hospital staff in a corridor at Hexham General Hospital in Northumberland, without wearing a mask himself.
Though the prime minister was seen elbow-bumping and wearing a mask at some other points.
WHO special envoy for Covid-19, Dr David Nabarro told Sky News: “I’m not sitting on the fence on this one – where you’ve got large amounts of virus being transmitted, everybody should do everything to avoid either getting the virus or inadvertently passing it on.
“We know that wearing a face mask reduces the risk, we know that maintaining physical distance reduces the risk, we know that hygiene by regular hand washing and coughing into your elbow reduces the risk.
“We should do it all and we should not rely on any one intervention like vaccination on its own.
“So, please, would every leader be wearing face masks? Particularly when in indoor settings.”
It comes as Covid-19 cases have fallen by around four per cent across the world – except in Europe, according to the WHO on Wednesday.
Cases have increased by seven per cent across the continent in the past week, to a total of 1.9m, nearly two-thirds of global infections.
The UK was among the countries with the highest numbers of new cases worldwide, a list which also includes the US, Russia, Turkey and Germany.
Around 93 per cent of England’s population now have antibodies, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which higher than the rest of the UK.