The effectiveness of masks in reducing the spread of a virus.

The request was successful.

Dear Public Health England, please supply any and all copies of studies, information and communications (including internal & external email or written communication) pertaining to to the effectiveness or otherwise of face masks in reducing (or increasing) virus and bacterial infection rates within the public domain. Please also provide the same information and communications (including internal & external email or written communication) pertaining to the use of face masks within a medical setting.

Yours faithfully,
Martin Murray

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Martin Murray

We acknowledge receipt of your email and request for information, which will be treated as a request for information under statutory access legislation.

Please note that requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) will receive a response within 20 working days from the day following the date of receipt of your request.

If the request is for your personal data, your request has been handled as a data subject access request (SAR) under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), then we will respond  within one month of the receipt of the request.

Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for providing guidance and advice to government and front-line services for all aspects of public health.  It is a designated Category 1 responder organisation under the Civil Contingency Act and this specifically includes the COVID-19 response, providing clinical expertise and wider public health advice and guidance across national and local government, the NHS and third sector.  As such, you may experience delays when making statutory information access requests during the pandemic.

We will aim to address all requests promptly and within the required response timeframes.  However when we are unable to meet the response timeframe we will keep requesters updated on a revised expected timescale for a response to their request. The Information Commissioner recognises this position in its recent guidance, see link: https://ico.org.uk/global/data-protectio....

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
www.gov.uk/phe   Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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Dear Public Health England,
Could you kindly explain the reason for the delay, these are fairly straightforward questions and the information should be readily to hand as it was surely used in support of the legislation introduced on 24th July. I must remind you that you are required by law to respond promptly, and by 15th September 2020.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Murray

FOI, Public Health England

Dear Martin Murray

Thank you for your email and patience whilst we process your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We apologise for the delay in providing our response. Due to the pandemic we are dealing with a high volume of requests at this time. We aim to provide you with a response by the 30 September 2020.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you once again for your patience.

Kind Regards,

FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
Tel: 020 8327 6920
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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Dear FOI team, thank you for your explanation- I understand these are very busy and extraordinary times and look forward to receiving the information at the end of September as per the above.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Murray

FOI, Public Health England

1 Attachment

Dear Martin Murray

Please find attached Public Health England's response to your request.

Kind regards
FOI Team
Public Accountability Unit
Public Health England
[PHE request email]
www.gov.uk/phe Follow us on Twitter @PHE uk

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