WHO Covid adviser criticises Boris Johnson not wearing mask in hospital and 'politicising' debate


A World Health Organization Covid adviser today called out Boris Johnson for not wearing a face mask inside a hospital.

The PM sparked a furore on social media after he was pictured greeting nurses and walking through a hospital corridor maskless in Northumberland on Monday.

Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth slammed Mr Johnson as ‘irresponsible’ and said NHS staff ‘deserved better’.

Now the premier has come under fire from Dr David Nabarro, the WHO’s special envoy for Covid. 

He urged all leaders to wear masks in public indoor spaces and suggested the issue of masks had become ‘politicised’ in the UK.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust insisted that Mr Johnson wore a mask he was on wards.

Guidance issued by the UK Health Security Agency states masks must be worn in clinical settings, such as wards, appointment rooms and waiting rooms.  

Asked about the controversy, Dr Nabarro told Sky News today: ‘I’m not sitting on the fence on this one.

‘Where you’ve got large amounts of virus being transmitted, everybody should do everything to avoid either getting the virus or inadvertently passing it on.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was pictureed walking with Julie Mobberley of Northumbria Healthcare during a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Hexham without a mask on Monday

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was pictureed walking with Julie Mobberley of Northumbria Healthcare during a visit to Hexham General Hospital in Hexham without a mask on Monday

He was also pictured not wearing a face covering when meeting with medical staff

He was also pictured not wearing a face covering when meeting with medical staff

‘We know wearing a face mask reduces the risk, we know that maintaining physical distance reduces the risk, we know hygiene by regular hand washing and coughing into your elbow reduces the risk.

‘We should do it all and we should not rely on any one intervention like vaccination on its own.

Dr David Nabarro, WHO special envoy for Covid, said: 'Perhaps that's the toughest thing about Covid is that the responses get politicised — in some places if you wear a mask, you're taught to belong to a particular political party'

Dr David Nabarro, WHO special envoy for Covid, said: ‘Perhaps that’s the toughest thing about Covid is that the responses get politicised — in some places if you wear a mask, you’re taught to belong to a particular political party’

‘So, please, would every leader be wearing face masks? Particularly when in indoor settings. 

‘And could everybody please be face-masked if they possibly can when they’re up close and personal with other people and especially in non-ventilated environments.

Care boss urges No10 to delay ‘no jab, no job’ policy until April over fears exodus of 60,000 unvaccinated staff will backfire and KILL elderly residents 

No10 was today urged to delay its controversial ‘no jab, no job’ policy for carers until April over fears the plans could backfire and kill elderly residents. 

From tomorrow, all care home employees must have had two Covid vaccines to keep their jobs. Estimates suggest up to 60,000 workers will be made redundant.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, which represents providers in Yorkshire, has called on ministers to push back the deadline.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it must be delayed until next spring to help the sector through the winter, and to match the timeline set yesterday for the NHS. 

He warned mandating jabs could kill vulnerable residents because homes would be left with ‘unsafe’ staffing levels.

Unions have already claimed hundreds of homes may be forced to close their doors for good from tomorrow because of staffing shortages. The sector was already short of 100,000 workers before the pandemic struck.

Sajid Javid dismissed fears tomorrow’s deadline would cause elderly residents to die, however. The Health Secretary insisted the policy was ‘manageable’ for the sector. 

‘This virus is unforgiving and we need to do everything possible to prevent it getting in between us and infecting us.’

He also told the broadcaster: ‘Perhaps that’s the toughest thing about Covid is that the responses get politicised — in some places if you wear a mask, you’re taught to belong to a particular political party.

‘That’s the most regretful thing about the present situation, we all need to be able to do what we’ve got to do, regardless of what politics we adopt.’

People were no longer required to wear face masks following Freedom Day, when nearly all Covid restrictions in England were lifted.

But health chiefs warned everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.

The UKHSA, which replaced the now-defunct Public Health England, issued updated guidance last month, reducing social distancing requirements, but keeping face mask rules in place for clinical settings. 

It comes after Sajid Javid yesterday announced Covid jabs would be compulsory for all frontline NHS staff from April.

The Health Secretary defended the move today, despite official estimates showing it would only convince 20,000 of the 120,000 unvaccinated NHS staff to get the Covid vaccine and push 70,000 to leave sector.

Health unions have warned that the policy threatens to do more harm than good by exacerbating crippling staff shortages in the NHS which currently has 100,000 vacancies. 

But the Health Secretary told Radio 4 this morning it was NHS staff’s ‘duty’ to get the jab in order to protect patients.

‘This is all about patient safety, we know vaccines work, we know that they reduce the risk of you being infected, so it reduces the spread of an infection,’ he said. 

No10 has also been urged to delay the same policy for carers — which comes into affect tomorrow — amid warnings the plan could backfire and kill elderly residents. 

From tomorrow, all care home employees must have had two Covid vaccines to keep their jobs. Estimates suggest up to 60,000 workers will be made redundant.

Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, warned mandating jabs could kill vulnerable residents because homes would be left with ‘unsafe’ staffing levels.

Unions have already claimed hundreds of homes may be forced to close their doors for good from tomorrow because of staffing shortages. The sector was already short of 100,000 workers before the pandemic struck.

Sajid Javid dismissed fears tomorrow’s deadline would cause elderly residents to die, however. The Health Secretary insisted the policy was ‘manageable’ for the sector.  

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