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Infection rules for NHS staff leave them at risk from airborne Covid, warn experts

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Pressure is growing on the government to change its stance on coronavirus infection rules which it is feared may leave NHS staff and patients at risk from airborne transmission.

Experts told The Independent the current guidance from Public Health England (PHE), which effectively says staff working on general wards can rely on just surgical masks for protection, was “outdated and potentially misleading” and put NHS staff at risk.

At the start of the pandemic the emphasis on stopping infection was focused around droplets containing the virus both in the air over short distances and on surfaces. Increasingly scientists have begun to warn the virus can also spread through much smaller aerosols which can remain airborne for a lot longer and over further distances.

On Friday, the World Health Organisation updated its information on how Covid spreads to acknowledge the risk of aerosols and last month papers released by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said health workers may need to use better protection for longer.

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Source: The Independent, 6 May 2021

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