'Masks still better than nothing' - Leicester virus specialist on wearing masks to protect against new COVID-19 variant

People wearing face masks when shopping Credit: PA

Dr Julian Tang is a Consultant Virologist at the Leicester Royal Infirmary and Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Respiratory Sciences at the University of Leicester. With more supermarkets now enforcing harsher mask-wearing measures, we spoke to him about the effectiveness of masks in reducing the risk of coronavirus.

He also told ITV News Central that wearing masks are "better than nothing" in protecting against the new variants of COVID-19 appearing in Brazil, South Africa and in the UK.

A new variant which has recently caused high COVID-19 rates across the country, is believed to have originated in Kent in September. Dr Tang says that masks still play a huge role in reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and although the new, more transmissible variant, may "slightly reduce" the effectiveness of the mask, he believes it's still better than not wearing one.

Q. How big a part do masks still play in reducing the risk of COVID-19?

Q. Are masks still as effective in protecting yourself against the new more transmissible variant of COVID-19?

Q. Is it a good thing that supermarkets won't be allowing some people in without mask, unless they have medical exemption?

Q. What do you do if you forget your face covering? Is a scarf good enough?

Q. Will mask wearing become a convention in the UK after the pandemic? Will it stay with us like it has done in other parts of the world like South East Asia?

Watch the full interview with Matt Teale here:

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