UK Officials Reluctant to Update Face Mask Policies for Public
As the coronavirus pandemic sickened over 3 million people and killed over 211,000 people around the globe, scientists continuously scramble to learn more about the virus.
Accumulated evidence of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmissions has led health officials in over 30 countries to mandate face coverings in public. However, ministers of UK, despite mounting pressures, has not officially recommended the people to wear masks in public.
The questions is, why is the government reluctant to implement the recommendations?
The UK government repeatedly stated that the policies will be changed if the scientific experts advised so and yet, even after the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies advised the ministers that masks help reduce spread, the policies have not been updated.
Face masks in public
So far, a number of statements have been made. Claims that there isn’t sufficient evidence surrounding the efficacy of face masks against the virus and claims that the measure will promote relaxed attitudes based on false sense of security were stated repeatedly. Yet such arguments can easily be negated and any rational person will have difficulties accepting them as valid reasons when countries that have access to top experts are mandating the usage of face masks in public.
This leads us to the only reasonable objection made, which is that the public wearing masks will further strain the already scarce supplies for NHS workers.
International shipment of Medical Supply
On average, UK has been recording around 800 deaths per day, many of them medical professionals working on the frontline.
The government announced that there is a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for essential workers and the situation has become so severe that medics are being recommended to wear aprons if they do not have access to gowns. The UK manufacturing sector is attempting to shift production to make masks. Despite such efforts, the supplies will not be enough to meet the increasing demand. The main issue is that UK does not have the capacity to scale production and does not have access to the materials needed.
UK relies on international shipments of PPE from Asia and other European countries. But importing supplies is only half the battle. Ensuring quality and properly vetting the equipment to meet the standards set forth by health organizations proves to be a major hurdle in itself.
Lesser known companies like ANNI Medical is stepping up to relieve such challenges UK and other countries without advanced manufacturing capabilities face. They are producing up to 50,000 units of FDA approved N95 masks and the CDC approved alternative, KN95 masks each day.
ANNI Medical is a division company to ANNI K.K, a company that works closely with UNICEF Japan and had delivered emergency supplies through its group companies in the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.