The Queen and Sir David Attenborough should pose in face masks to help encourage public to wear them, government adviser says

  • The Queen and Sir David Attenborough, both 94, could be asked to set example
  • A government adviser suggested national treasures wear masks to promote use  
  • Both have been isolating, with Sir Attenborough filming voice overs from garden
The Queen could be asked to set an example to the British public by wearing a mask for photographs in order to normalise the face coverings and encourage others to use them.
A government adviser suggested her majesty's endorsement of face masks would see an uptake in their use, as they become mandatory for shoppers across the UK on Friday.
Sir David Attenborough was another influential person marked for the job of mask-wearing role model, reports The Times.
Both are classed as elderly - at 94-years-old - and are therefore in a high risk category if faced with covid-19.
During lockdown the Queen has not attended public duties and has been staying far from Buckingham Palace, instead hiding out at Windsor Castle with a 'royal bubble' of loyal staff.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits next to David Attenborough during the annual Chatham House award in London, Britain November 20, 2019
Britain's Queen Elizabeth sits next to David Attenborough during the annual Chatham House award in London, Britain November 20, 2019Meanwhile the iconic natural historian, Sir Attenborough, is said to be working on his forthcoming BBC One show Perfect Planet from his Richmond home, filming links in his garden.
Data published by The Office of National Statistics at the end of May found that only one third of Britons are regularly wearing a face mask. 
Professor Robert West, of the government's SPI-B behavioural science advisory group, said that the countries favourite role models should be used to promote face mask wearers.
He told The Times: 'David Attenborough and the Queen, that's who they want. I'm surprised how little use has been made of role models.' 
From Friday shoppers who fail to wear a mask risk fines of £100 under the plans to stop a second wave of coronavirus.
Doing his part: The natural historian, 94, is said to be recording voice-overs for BBC One's Perfect Planet from a room which he has made sound-proof by taping a duvet to the walls
Doing his part: The natural historian, 94, is said to be recording voice-overs for BBC One's Perfect Planet from a room which he has made sound-proof by taping a duvet to the walls
Only young children or those with certain disabilities will be exempt from the new regulations which come in on Friday, July 24.  
Retailers will be asked to advise customers to wear masks but their staff will not be expected to enforce the law.
Instead, police will be given powers to dish out fines.
The law will require people to wear simple cloth face coverings, rather than the medical grade masks used by front-line NHS workers. 
Since the start of the pandemic The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) have wrestled with contradictory research regarding the effectiveness of face masks - which were made mandatory on public transport at the beginning of June.
They have since come to the conclusion that masks do help to slow transmission, after results from a German study, however the official line remains that masks are 'marginally beneficial' and not classed as PPE in hospitals.  
The move to make masks mandatory in shops may anger those who find them uncomfortable or dislike the idea of state compulsion.
One libertarian Tory MP has already vowed to stop shopping rather than wear a mask.
But Boris Johnson yesterday said they were important in confined spaces as 'a kind of extra insurance'.
A Downing Street spokesman said: 'There is growing evidence that wearing a face covering in an enclosed space helps protect individuals and those around them from coronavirus.' 

How the government's line on face coverings has changed over the months 

March 12: Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries: 'For the average member of the public walking down a street, it is not a good idea… in fact, you can actually trap the virus in the mask and start breathing it in.'
April 16: Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said: 'The evidence is weak, but the evidence of a small effect is there under certain circumstances.'
April 21: Revealed in meeting minutes a month later, Sage advised: 'On balance, there is enough evidence to support recommendation of community use of cloth face masks, for short periods in enclosed spaces, where social distancing is not possible.'
April 23: Dr Jenny Harries said there could be 'a very, very small potential beneficial effect in some enclosed environments'.
April 24: Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: 'On masks, as more information comes through, the science is constantly evolving and we always bear in mind that science and then take the decision. As of today, the government position is unchanged.'
April 30: Boris Johnson said: 'I do think that face coverings will be useful, both for epidemiological reasons, but also for giving people confidence that they can go back to work.'
May 20: Researchers in Hong Kong found face masks reduced infection by up to 75 per cent. 
June 4: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport from June 15. He said: 'With more people using transport the evidence suggests wearing face coverings offers some - albeit limited - protection against the spread for the virus.'
June 5: Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed plans to make face coverings compulsory in hospitals for all staff, visitors and outpatients from June 15, but a furious NHS boss said the decision was made 'without any notice or consultation'. Meanwhile, Grant Shapps said masks would not be required in other settings such as shops because people spend little time in close proximity.
June 12: German study suggests making face masks compulsory could slow the spread of Covid-19 by as much as 40 per cent.
July 10: The PM says the government 'needs to be stricter in insisting people wear face coverings in confined spaces'. A government source later briefs that it is a 'fair assumption' that masks will become mandatory in shops and other indoor settings within a few weeks.
July 12: Michael Gove says masks will not be compulsory in shops in England, insisting it is best to 'trust' the public and wearing a face covering is a matter of 'good manners'.
July 13: Mr Johnson says an announcement will be made 'in the coming days' on upgrading the advice on using face coverings. 

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