The BBC Breakfast host questioned Matt Hancock on the latest Government’s coronavirus rule to wear face coverings in shops in England, asking if the rule will be extended to all workplaces in the country. The BBC host asked: “Are you looking at this? There are reports on the papers today that this is something you are considering. It’s going to be the next extension of face coverings in the workplace. Is that right?”
But when the Health Secretary stunned Mr Walker with a straight “no”, the BBC host mumbled: “Why is that in the paper then?”
To which Matt Hancock laughed and said: “Well, I don’t know. I’m not a journalist. I don’t write newspapers.
“I make policy.”
“So that’s not something you ministers are discussing?”, the BBC host insisted.
Matt Hancock laughed at BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker’s question on face coverings
Matt Hancock tells BBC Dan Walker: ‘I don’t write newspapers, I make policy’
Mr Hancock replied: “It’s something we looked at and rejected on exactly the grounds I’ve just set out, which is that what you need in offices is social distancing.
“You need to be two metres apart or have other mitigations to make your workplace COVID secure.
“We set all that out some months ago and that’s largely happening.
“We’re not proposing to extend masks to offices.”
Mr Hancock said that face coverings will have to be worn “for the foreseeable future”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “People will have to wear masks in shops and on public transport and in the NHS for the foreseeable future.
“The virus exists only to multiply and without any measures we know that each person infects another two to three people so we do have to have these measures in place, even though the number of cases is really low, to keep a grip on the virus.”
The Health Secretary also welcomed the extra measures introduced in Blackburn with Darwen to tackle coronavirus in the Lancashire town.
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He said: “On Blackburn, I think that the council there are doing a fantastic job.
“There is a higher rate of COVID in Blackburn than the average across the country, it’s not as high as in Leicester.
“We’ve gone in and are supporting them, working with them, for instance, put in much more testing. And then they’ve taken these steps locally and I applaud that.
“This is exactly the sort of local action we want to see.”