It will be mandatory for all hospital visitors and outpatients in England to wear face coverings from 15 June, while all hospital staff will be required to wear surgical face masks.
The change was announced today, after the government made face coverings mandatory on all English public transport networks yesterday.
Health secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement today at the daily press briefing, while also confirming that the UK’s official coronavirus death toll has surpassed 40,000, after a further 357 people died yesterday.
“As the NHS reopens right across the country, it’s critically important to stop the spread amongst staff patients and visitors too,” he said.
“One of the things we’ve learned is those in hospital, those who are working in hospital, are more likely to catch coronavirus whether they work in a clinical setting or not.
“So to offer even greater protection we’re also providing new guidance for NHS staff in England, which will come into force, again, from June 15.
“And all hospital staff will be required to wear type-one or two surgical masks.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said anyone without a face covering will not be allowed to travel on any of England’s public transport and that fines would be given out for non-compliance.
However, he said that coverings would not be necessary for other spaces such as shops.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said today that the government’s advice did not go far enough as non-essential retail shops get ready to open on 15 June.
Speaking to the BBC today, Khan said: “Why not also make [face coverings] mandatory particularly in those confined spaces – public transport is one, shops are another – where you may inadvertently pass the virus on or inadvertently catch it?
“Why not err on the side of caution?”