Will face masks stop coronavirus spreading in Preston?

Shoppers in Preston say they are not worried about the coronavirus coming into the UK - even though a city street seller has set up a stall touting masks.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:00 pm
A street seller has a mobile stall selling coronavirus masks in Fishergate in Preston

The man, who does not want to be named, is based in Fishergate at the entrance to St George’s Shopping Centre.

Asked if he was selling the masks because of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China the man said: “It’s a face mask which stops germs more than an ordinary mask.

“They are surgical, disposable masks. If you want to use it again you can just put a tissue in it and throw that away.

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“They are made in China. I’ve had these for about six months - there were no viruses then.

“As far as I’m concerned there’s no shops that have them, nobody’s got anything but if it ever hit Preston we wouldn’t be able to get any masks. The only place you can get them is the hospital.

“If you had a virus it stops you breathing germs everywhere.

“We’re going to get coronavirus, of course we are.”

But the street seller, who has been out with his mobile stall for about a week, says he has only managed to sell one or two masks so far.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “People won’t buy them. I don’t know why, maybe they’re a bit frightened of them.”

An informal poll of shoppers in Fishergate showed that Preston’s residents were not concerned about the coronavirus.

Asked if she was worried about the virus coming to the city one shopper said: “Not at all, it’s no where near here.”

Another said: “I think at the moment it’s just an over reaction.

"I have not heard of anything here if there was then maybe then but until then no.”

Should I wear a facemask?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory disease.

However, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections.

To protect yourself, the WHO says it’s more important to:

• cover your mouth and nose while sneezing, with a tissue or your elbow;

• put the tissue straight into a closed bin;

• wash your hands afterwards, and then frequently, with soap or sanitiser;

• keep your distance from people who are coughing and sneezing - at least one metre.