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Science advisers call for better PPE for healthcare workers

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Healthcare workers have welcomed a change in scientific advice on how to protect them from coronavirus.

A document by the government's scientific advisory group (Sage) says higher grade masks may be needed when caring for Covid patients.

Current guidance says that thinner surgical masks are adequate, outside of intensive care units.

The Department of Health said guidance "is kept under constant review" and protecting NHS staff was a priority.

Some doctors described it as a "crack of light" after more than a year of campaigning for improvements.

A long list of healthcare unions and professional bodies has been making increasingly desperate appeals for what are called FFP3 respirators. These are designed to filter out infectious aerosols that may be lingering in the air, particularly in close proximity to patients.

Growing evidence of the risks of airborne transmission has led the government to emphasise the importance of ventilation - with the words "fresh air" now added to the public messaging.

And now a technical document released by Sage concludes that healthcare workers may need higher standards of respiratory protective equipment.

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Source: BBC News, 24 April 2021

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