Advice to help control the spread of coronavirus
Wakefield's Director of Public Health is reminding people of some of the key actions they can take to help control the spread of the coronavirus and protect themselves and others, when they are outside the home.
As the Government begins to cautiously lift some of the lockdown restrictions, they are encouraging people to wear a face covering if they are in are an enclosed space where social distancing is difficult and they may come into contact with people who they do not normally meet. This could be on public transport or in shops. The key purpose of this is to protect others and is relevant for short periods in more crowded or busy areas.
Anna Hartley, Wakefield's Director of Public Health, explained: "By wearing a face covering you are helping to protect others and controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
"Face coverings can simply be a scarf or bandana, or if you feel creative you can make your own out of old t-shirts or fabric. There are plenty of videos out there showing you how to do it or you can check out the Government's tips www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering. The key thing is that whatever you use covers both your mouth and nose and enables you to breathe safely. Please remember to wash your hands before putting the face mask covering on and taking it off, as well as washing it often.
"However, babies and toddlers under two must not wear a face covering. It may stop them being able to breathe properly and I urge parents not to do this. It's also important that anyone, young or old, who has a respiratory condition like asthma does not wear them. Face coverings can sometimes be difficult for younger children to manage without help too so if this is the case it is better not to wear them."
Face coverings shouldn't be confused with the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. The Government has made it clear that these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.
Good hand hygiene remains one of the other key actions that people can continue to do to tackle the coronavirus.
Anna Hartley added: "If people choose not to, or cannot wear a face covering, they can still help reduce the spread of the coronavirus by making sure they are regularly washing their hands. Washing your hands, with soap and hot water, as often as you can continues to be one of the most effective ways to protect yourselves and others.
"So whether you wear a face covering or not, you must keep doing this. Whilst it may seem a very basic action it really is an effective way to control the spread of the coronavirus."
Social distancing remains important to help people stay safe outside their home and face coverings and hand washing do not replace social distancing. It is also important that if people have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature), they and their household must isolate at home.
People can find all the Government's advice on staying safe outside the home here www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering
Residents also can find up to date information on the Council's dedicated coronavirus information web page at bit.ly/CoronaWFD