COVID-19: UK has third highest deaths, but Brits refuse to don masks

Updated: Jul 13, 2020, 08:13 IST | Agencies | London (UK)

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Michael Gove has asked people to return to work "to fire up the the economic engines again".

Festival-goers, many without masks, at their designated pitches as they attend the Gisburne Park Pop-Up, the first purpose built socially distanced outdoor festival in the UK that has 2,89,603 cases. Pic/AFP
Festival-goers, many without masks, at their designated pitches as they attend the Gisburne Park Pop-Up, the first purpose built socially distanced outdoor festival in the UK that has 2,89,603 cases. Pic/AFP

The UK has so far recorded 44,819 deaths due to COVID-19 — the third highest toll globally, after the US and Brazil — and yet people go out in the public without face masks. According to a CNN report, dozens of people have been spotted in crowded trains and store without masks.

A report by the Royal Society's SET-C and the British Academy stated that only around 25 per cent Britishers wore mask in late April, whereas in Italy 83.4 per cent of the country's citizens used face coverings. The reason fewer Britishers are using masks when in public are socio-behavioural factors and government policies, stated the report.

The UK has only mandated wearing of masks on public transport. "People may rightly ask why you have to wear a mask on a train but not in a shop. If guidance is inconsistent people will follow their own preferences," CNN quoted Royal Society President Venki Ramakrishnan as saying. Britishers might "not really understand the benefits or are not convinced of them."

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Michael Gove has asked people to return to work "to fire up the the economic engines again".

"We want to see more people back at work, on the shop floor, in the office, wherever they can be. Of course in some cases it is appropriate and convenient for people to work from home, but we want to make sure that where people can add value, where the economy can benefit from people being at work, that they are at work," the Guardian quoted Gove as saying.

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