UK's position on face masks "has not changed" Matt Hancock tells LBC

23 April 2020, 18:30

By Seán Hickey

LBC's Westminster correspondent grilled the Health Secretary on the government's position on buying PPE for the UK en masse.

In the government's daily coronavirus briefing there were announcements that the UK's testing facilities are increasing, with testing capacity at around 50,000.

LBC's Westminster correspondent Ben Kentish questioned the government at today's press briefing, asking the Health Secretary "how low do case numbers need to be before track and trace is effective" but more interestingly prodding at the UK's capacity to buy and distribute PPE to British people.

He claimed that the UK was "behind other countries in going into lockdown" and behind other countries in following scientific guidelines among other coronavirus measures and wondered if there would be a "problem when comes to British people having access to facemasks" seeing as other countries have already begun buying stocks.

Matt Hancock replied to Ben's question on being slow to follow the science, stating simply that he "didn't accept the premise of the question".

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The Health Secretary told Ben Kentish that the government has "followed science throughout" the coronavirus crisis and the strategy changed throughout as the science developed.

"Science develops as we learn more about the virus" Mr Hancock insisted and such is the position of the government - to follow the science as the science changes.

Matt Hancock went on to tell Ben that the UK's "position on facemasks is unchanged" as the advice on wearing masks in public is conflicting.

"We will consider updated scientific advice" Mr Hancock said while also assuring Ben that any and all facemasks bought by the government are "first and foremost for NHS" and other essential workers such as those working in care homes.