A Government scientist has recommended wearing three layer masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
But Public Health England’s Dr Susan Hopkins said there was no need to wear two masks, as US President Joe Biden has been seen doing.
“The more layers you have the better,” Dr Hopkins told a Downing Street Press Conference.
“So we recommend at least two layers and ideally three layers in a mask – and that is really important to reduce the virus transmission both from you to others and others to you.”
She added: “We have got a face masks and face coverings advisory group who meet on a regular basis and look at new and emerging evidence, and the US has looked at some of that evidence as well.
“We are in an ongoing discussion about what to do next, but we think one mask that has more than two layers in it is currently effective for the vast majority of the population.”
President Biden is one of many people who have taken to wearing two masks at once – often one medical grade one underneath with a cloth mask on top.
The US President explained during the election campaign that he struggles to get a medical grade N95 mask to fit comfortably, so wears a paper one over the top to keep it in place.
It came as Matt Hancock urged Britons not to break coronavirus rules and “blow” progress, despite “exciting” data suggesting the two vaccines being used in the UK reduce hospital admissions in over-70s by 80%.
The Health Secretary said jabs were already helping to save lives, as he heralded the study by Public Health England which indicated that the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing infections among older people.
Mr Hancock said the number of admissions to hospital was falling faster than that of cases – particularly among the older age groups who were vaccinated first. “This is a sign that the vaccine is working,” he said.
He told a Downing Street press conference that people must “keep sticking to the rules, let’s not blow it now” – but said the new data shows “in the real world, across the UK right now that the vaccine is helping both to protect the NHS and to save lives”.