NHS supplies of face masks could be put at risk if the government starts advising the public to wear them, hospital bosses have warned.
The government's scientific advisers are to meet later to discuss whether the public should be urged to wear masks in a bid to combat coronavirus, but Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, warned there should be "clear evidence" to justify their use.
He said securing supplies for NHS staff amid huge global demand was "crucial".
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is no evidence to support the use of face masks by the general population. It says people who are not in health and care facilities should only wear masks if they are sick or caring for those who are ill.
But the debate around their use in the UK has been gaining momentum in recent weeks, with proponents arguing they can help reduce the risk of people with the virus passing it on to others.
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Source: BBC News, 21 April 2020