Western Mail

Crack whip on masks, it can’t do any harm


I HAVE never understood the Welsh Government’s reluctance to make the wearing of face masks mandatory when shopping.

It is highly unlikely that there will ever be any scientific studies to determine their value so the diktat “follow the science” sometimes has to give way to common sense.

Since there is no convincing evidence that wearing the face mask causes harm – indeed, an impression is that the wearer is more likely to follow the remainder of the triumvirat­e, distance-spacing and hand-washing, nor induce a sense of false security – and some good might come of it, then why not follow the wise Hippocrati­c aphorism Primum non nocere – loosely translated as First do no harm – and make face mask-wearing in all shops compulsory?

I appreciate of course that this practice can not be policed and it is certainly not the responsibi­lity of the shop staff to supervise their customers, but even if only a small percentage follow this advice it can only be a good thing.

Surely the many countries across the world, including our closest neighbour, who have adopted this practice cannot be wrong.

Indeed, a letter to a national paper several months ago from an experience­d clinician in Hong Kong concluded that more than any other practice wearing face masks in Hong Kong was the factor mostly responsibl­e for their very low mortality rate.

At a time when we are seeing an ominous increase in the number of Covid-19 cases this is surely the time for the Welsh Government to crack the whip and make the wearing of face masks when shopping compulsory, however uncomforta­ble and embarrassi­ng it might be to some.

A response by Health Minister Vaughan Gething, whose management of the pandemic in Wales has been otherwise outstandin­g, through your pages would be appreciate­d.

DP Davies Formerly Professor of Paediatric­s Cardiff

 ??  ?? Aquabus in Cardiff Bay. Picture sent in by David Lloyd of Cardiff
Aquabus in Cardiff Bay. Picture sent in by David Lloyd of Cardiff

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