The UK government has advised the public to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, such as shops and public transport, to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Following the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the government has confirmed that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances, and may be beneficial in places where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing measures.

This includes when using public transport, such as trains, buses and metro systems, or when visiting shops, where the public may be more likely to come into contact with people they don’t normally meet.

However, the government strongly urged the public not to purchase surgical masks or respirators, as these are prioritised for healthcare workers working in more high-risk environments.

It added that the government won’t be supplying face coverings centrally — instead it’s encouraging the public to make face coverings at home, using scarves or other textile items they may already own, or fabrics readily available on the market.