Evidence showing and support Mask work

Shane Fallas made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please can you provide scientific evidence and proof that wearing mask is affective and reduces the viral load. Also please provide scientific evidence that the viral load within the mask increase and does not causing the individual increase risk to the covid-19 virus.

Yours faithfully,

Shane Fallas

FreedomofInformation, Department of Health and Social Care

Dear Mr Fallas,

Thank you for your email.

The Freedom of Information Act only applies to recorded information such as paper or electronic archive material. As your correspondence asked for "evidence" and an opinion rather than requesting recorded information or documentation, it did not fall under the provisions of the Act. It will be answered as general correspondence in due course.

In future, please use the link below for general correspondence:


Yours sincerely,

FOI Team
Department of Health and Social Care

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Department of Health and Social Care

Our ref: DE-1292585
Dear Mr Fallas,
Thank you for your correspondence of 14 January about face coverings. I
have been asked to reply.

The Freedom of Information Act only applies to recorded information such
as paper or electronic archive material.  As your correspondence asked for
general information, rather than requesting recorded information or
documentation, it did not fall under the provisions of the Act.

The Government has published guidance on face coverings, explaining what
the coverings are, their role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19,
the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely
used and stored. This is in addition to social distancing and good hand
hygiene, as face coverings can help people protect one another in indoor
The guidance states that, in England, people must wear a face covering
that covers their mouth and nose in a number of public indoor settings,

* public transport; 
* shops and supermarkets; 
* premises providing professional, legal or financial services; 
* visitor attractions and entertainment venues; and 
* community centres and social clubs. 

The guidance, including the full list of public settings requiring face
coverings, can be found at [1]www.gov.uk by searching for ‘face
The guidance on face coverings follows advice from the Scientific Advisory
Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which provides scientific and technical
advice to support decision-making during emergencies. There is evidence to
suggest that, when used correctly, face coverings may reduce the
likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others,
particularly if they are asymptomatic. As face coverings are mainly
intended to protect others, not the wearer, from COVID-19, they could be
partially effective in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not
always possible. 
The Government’s decision-making has been informed by an ongoing
assessment of the impact of this policy, including on groups with
protected characteristics. 
Face coverings are not personal protective equipment and are not designed
to provide protection to the wearer in the same way as face masks. Face
coverings are therefore not a replacement for social distancing and hand
washing as described in the ‘Stay Alert and Safe’ guidance. This guidance
can be found at [2]www.gov.uk by searching for ‘staying alert and safe
social distancing’. 
Public Health England’s (PHE’s) guidance has been developed with the
Office for Product Safety and Standards to ensure that advice complies
with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, which can be found
at [3]www.legislation.gov.uk by searching for their title. Guidance on
exemptions on face covering use can be found at [4]www.gov.uk by searching
for ‘face coverings: when to wear one’. 
In addition, the Health Protection Regulations 2020 on wearing of face
coverings can be found at [5]www.legislation.gov.uk by searching for
‘health protection coronavirus wearing of face masks’. 
Some people are exempt from wearing a face covering, including children
under the age of 11 and those unable to wear them due to health, age,
equality or disability reasons. People do not need to prove they are
exempt, and they should not be challenged about this.  
The evidence for the effectiveness of face coverings to prevent the spread
of COVID-19 in community settings is currently limited. This is due to the
differing definitions and usage of face coverings.
In June, however, PHE conducted a rapid review on the efficacy of
different types of face coverings. This review, which focused specifically
on their use in community settings, found evidence that wearing a face
covering may contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19, and laboratory
studies found that materials such as cotton and polyester may block
droplets, with a filtering efficiency similar to medical masks, when
folded into two or three layers.  
From the beginning of the outbreak, all of the Government’s policies,
including the guidance on hand sanitiser and face coverings, have been
guided by the advice of SAGE. This is led by the Chief Scientific Adviser
and Chief Medical Officer for England, and the response is kept under
constant review.  
The situation is evolving, and the guidance and advice may change.
Consequently, you may find it helpful to seek the latest advice on
this query through the COVID-19 ‘hub’, which can be found at 
[6]https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus and is regularly updated. 

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,
Anthony Moses
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health and Social Care

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