Dreaded face masks return to Britain amid 'significant' rise in Covid cases

Dreaded face masks return to Britain amid 'significant' rise in cases

Dreaded face masks return to Britain amid 'significant' rise in cases

Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop

Published: 24/10/2023

- 07:52

Updated: 24/10/2023

- 09:14

Other 'precautionary' measures are being introduced as well

Face masks have returned to some NHS hospitals and GP surgeries, after a “significant” surge in Covid cases.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has said that anyone entering clinical areas across its different sites would need to wear the face coverings, as well as reintroducing other “precautionary measures”.

The trust said in a statement: “Along with our staff, visitors, outpatients and anyone accompanying them are asked to wear masks in all clinical areas and anywhere they will be in close contact with others for longer periods of time.

“Please ask staff if you do not have a mask and they will provide you with one.

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“We are also asking that anyone coming into our hospitals or community hubs please sanitise their hands, keep their distance from others and avoid visiting if unwell with viral symptoms such as cough, cold or fever.”

Royal Hallamshire Hospital, the Northern General Hospital, Weston Park Cancer Hospital and the Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital, are among the trusts’ sites that will introduce the new measures.

The trust pointed to a rise in Covid-19 cases as the reason for the reintroduction of face coverings.

“The number of cases of Covid-19 has risen significantly over the last few weeks both locally and nationally,” the trust said.


Guidance issued nationally by the NHS says that individual trusts can decide whether to wear masks or not, depending on infection rates.

Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust still require people to wear face masks in all clinical areas.

Meanwhile, the Royal Stoke University and Stafford’s County Hospital reintroduced mask-wearing in some areas earlier this month.

Matthew Lewis, medical director at Royal Stoke, told the Stoke Sentinel: “Multiple variants of Covid-19 continue to circulate in the population during all seasons, and University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) NHS Trust has noticed an increase during September.

“This is a situation which is constantly under review and as a result, we have re-introduced the wearing of surgical masks in some of our hospital areas.

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“As a protective measure staff in our emergency and acute portals should routinely wear fluid resistant surgical masks and patients with respiratory symptoms are encouraged to also wear a mask if they are able to and it doesn’t compromise their care.

“Staff in all UHNM areas are recommended to wear a surgical mask if they have any cold, sore throat or respiratory virus symptoms, no matter how mild. Masks should be worn during working hours, even when not in contact with a patient to help protect patients, visitors and colleagues.

“It is really important that everyone plays their part in helping to limit the spread of infection and to also consider having a flu and Covid-19 vaccination, if eligible.”

The UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA) has released data which shows that 12,123 new Covid cases were recorded in England from October 7 to October 14.

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