New safety symbol that tells you if a face mask is effective

A NEW safety symbol will be launched to let shoppers know if a face mask is effective or not.

The British Standards Institute (BSI) will carry out a test on the coverings before putting its Kitemark stamp on the ones that are the best at reducing the risk of spreading of Covid-19.

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Brits already have to wear a face mask on public transport by law but from next Friday they will have to be worn inside shops too, or risk a £100 fine.

Top advisers in SAGE recommend a face covering that you can make yourself, or you can use something like a bandana or thick scarf for when you're out and about.

Government guidance say they don't count as medical grade PPE but are sufficient in helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The new Kitemark will be added to masks that are the most effective in stopping the wearer passing the virus on to others, but they won't be assessed on how well they protect the wearer.

BSI approved face masks will have to meet the technical specification required, including 70 per cent particle infiltration and how breathable it is when wearing them.

It will also be tested on how well it fits and how clear the instructions for use are.

It isn't a legal requirement, but a BSI Kitemark usually shows that the manufacturer as gone above and beyond to make sure that the covering offers the appropriate levels of protection.

Howard Kerr, chief executive of BSI, said: "There is an overwhelming choice of face coverings available in the market.

"The challenge is knowing which claims they make are valid and whether they provide a basic level of protection to others.

"Face coverings that are independently assessed to schemes such as the Kitemark will allow consumers to make an informed and trusted decision."

Mr Kerr added that it will give consumers the confidence in what they're buying and assure them that they don't need to buy medical PPE.

This will help to avoid a second shortage like the once seen earlier in the pandemic.

BSI said UK manufacturers Cookson and Clegg and Rototherm are among the first organisations in the final stages of assessment to achieve the new Kitemark.

It is expected that the first face coverings with the Kitemark will be available from late July.

Face coverings must already be worn in shops and on public transport in Scotland.

They are also compulsory on public transport in Northern Ireland.

In Wales, face coverings will only become mandatory for public transport when new rules come into force on July 27.


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