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The Health Secretary said that all visitors and outpatients will not be allowed in without wearing the sort of coverings that can be made at home. Medical and other staff will have to wear surgical masks at all times, he confirmed. The announcement follows a similar move to make face coverings mandatory on public transport from the same day – June 15. Mr Hancock said the measure was necessary to protect all hospital workers as NHS units gradually reopen their doors for procedures that were delayed by the coronavirus response.
He told the daily Downing Street press conference: “As the NHS reopens right across the country, it’s critically important to stop the spread amongst staff, patients and visitors too.
“So today we’re setting out that all hospital visitors and outpatients will need to wear face coverings.
“One of the things that we’ve learnt is that those in hospital, those who are working in hospital, are more likely to catch coronavirus whether they work in a clinical setting or not.
“And so to offer even greater protection we’re also providing new guidance for NHS staff in England which will come into force again on June 15 and all hospital staff will be required to wear type one or two surgical masks.
“And this will cover all staff working in hospital, it will apply at all times – not just when they are doing life-saving work on the frontline – and it will apply in all areas, except those areas designated as Covid-secure workplaces.”
He said the Government was upgrading the guidance to ensure that hospitals are a place of “care and of safety”.
“We’ve also strengthened infection control in care homes and we’re working with the social care sector on how this approach can apply appropriately in social care too.
“It’s about protecting the NHS and social care, which means protecting our colleagues who work in the NHS and in social care.”
Mr Hancock also encouraged people who had recovered from coronavirus to donate their blood plasma – as he revealed he had made a donation.
He said: “If you have had the virus, then you can help make a difference. Because by donating your plasma from your blood that has your antibodies in it, then you can help somebody who is currently suffering in hospital with coronavirus.
“I did this earlier today, I gave my antibodies, and the process is simple, it’s straightforward.
“If you have had coronavirus, if you go to the NHS blood and transplant website… then you too can donate your antibodies and help protect somebody who is currently in hospital with coronavirus.
“And I’d encourage anybody who can do that to step forward.”
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