Coronavirus beard alert: NHS warns over facial hair as chart reveals which styles are safe

27 February 2020, 08:57 | Updated: 28 February 2020, 14:18

This US chart shows which beard styles may put you at risk
This US chart shows which beard styles may put you at risk. Picture: CDC

An NHS hospital has told staff to shave off full beards in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.

Bosses at Southampton General Hospital have told workers to get rid of full beards and instead stick to a 'zappa' or be clean shaven to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The Sun reported that a memo sent to NHS staff at the hospital read: “You will see that the presence of facial hair compromises the ability to protect any individual through a mask.

LATEST: First Brit dies from coronavirus - in Japan

“I am writing to ask those who do not have a strong cultural or religious reason for a beard and who are working in at risk areas to consider shaving.

“I recognise for some this is a big ask, that beards are so popular at present. However I do believe this is the right thing to do.”

Read more: why facemasks won't protect you from coronavirus

The Health and Safety Executive website explains that facial hair "makes it impossible" for a mask to properly protect the lungs from dirty air.

The news emerged after the US re-issued guidelines on facial hair to health officials preparing for coronavirus.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published a chart showing the facial hair styles that could reduce the effectiveness of face masks.

A bearded man in Italy wears a facemask
A bearded man in Italy wears a facemask. Picture: PA

It says that clean shaven is the safest surface for a respirator, and warns against full beards, short or long stubble, or a fu manchu.

It lists 36 different men's facial hairstyles, with only 12 deemed to not interfere with masks: clean shaven, soul patch, side whiskers, pencil, toothbrush, lampshade, Zorro, Zappa, walrus, painter's brush, Chevron and a handlebar.

The CDC says more bearded styles can stop the mask forming a tight seal over the face.

Other styles, including goatees, horseshoes and villain moustaches can be worn if hair does not cross the filter's boundary, the chart says.

Protective masks are being used in towns and cities nationwide as the number of cases globally passed 80,000, leaving every continent bar Antarctica stricken.

In Britain, Public Health England is set to launch an awareness campaign on social media and broadcasters - including orders to wash hands for 20 seconds and only sneeze into tissues - to stop the virus count going up.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rugby Union player Connor Garden-Bachop has died at the age of 25 after a 'medical event', New Zealand Rugby has confirmed.

New Zealand rugby player Connor Garden-Bachop, 25, dies after 'medical event'

Mr Sunak was joined by Foreign Secretary David Cameron for the first time on the campaign

Flock of sheep flee as Rishi Sunak and David Cameron try to feed them

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Olympic athletes ‘could die of overheating’ due to 'dangerous temperatures' at Paris 2024 Games

Comedian Victoria Vera Blyth was killed by her husband David Thomas Blyth

British businessman shoots his TV star wife dead in murder-suicide after 'row over her text messages' at Turkey home

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, was brutally attacked during attempted robbery

Tattooed woman in black hunted by police after schoolboy, 12, is attacked walking home from school

A decision not to charge police officers involved in the original Stephen Lawrence murder investigation has been upheld by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Stephen Lawrence murder detectives will not face prosecution, CPS announces

Justin Timberlake has been arrested for “driving while intoxicated”

Justin Timberlake arrested for 'driving while intoxicated' in wealthy Hamptons enclave

Three children went missing after a day at Thorpe Park

Three children missing after day out at Thorpe Park found safe and well by police

Keir Starmer responds to callers about Palestine.

Starmer says he would take 'full part' in resolving Israel Gaza conflict, pledging to recognise Palestine as part of two-state solution

Former footballer Joey Barton has apologised to Jeremy Vine for defaming him on social media and agreed to pay £75,000 in damages.

Ex-footballer Joey Barton apologises to Jeremy Vine and pays £75,000 in damages over defamatory posts

SAS doctors have accepted a pay offer from the government

SAS doctors accept new pay offer from government after months of negotiations

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friends from 'the middle of nowhere' on night out

British teen missing in Tenerife after desperately calling friend from 'the middle of nowhere' after night out

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast

'We would seek a better agreement' Keir Starmer tells LBC where he thinks "botched" Brexit deal can be improved

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer during LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show

Keir Starmer defends plan to repeal law protecting veterans from prosecution due to ‘lack of support’ in NI

Sir Keir Starmer took questions from LBC listeners this morning with a few weeks until the nation goes to the polls

Starmer refuses to rule out council tax hike, bins plans for football levy and admits he would have served under Corbyn

Sir Keir emphasised the importance of single-sex spaces

Trans people will be accommodated in 'side rooms' of single-sex wards, Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC