Torbay health boss in plea for residents to wear masks

Torbay Director of Public Health Lincoln Sargeant

Torbay director of public health Lincoln Sargeant. - Credit: North Yorkshire County Council

Torbay’s director of public health wants residents to continue to wear face coverings despite the easing of restrictions and says he doesn’t understand why people see it as an issue.

At 420 per 100,000 people as of July 30, Covid infections in the Bay are still very high, warns Dr Lincoln Sargeant.

Speaking last week, Dr Sargeant said: “I find it difficult, the anti-face mask lobby. I don’t understand why people should be so worked up about it because in the long run it doesn’t take a great deal from you.

“Personally, I don’t see it as a hardship. When I go into shops, I put my face covering on. It gives me a sense of safety but I also think about the shopkeepers and others.

"If each of us can do that it helps to protect those people as well.

“The vaccine programme is the single strongest measure we have against the virus, but it’s not foolproof.

"If both you and the other person you’re facing have a face covering that does decrease the risk of transmission quite considerably.”

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Torbay council leader Councillor Steve Darling pointed out face coverings were in use in Southeast Asia long before the pandemic.

He said: “I think in the longer term we have to have a culture change.”

“The western European culture and American culture is more about the individual, whereas in Southeast Asia, it’s more about ‘we’ than ‘I.’

“I think that’s something that we need to be taking on board as a culture in western Europe – that actually we need to be collectively more responsible to protect each other.”

Cllr Darling says he will continue to push for positive messaging from the council on the subject of face masks 'because it is just so important'.

Since July 19, it has no longer been a legal requirement to wear a face covering indoors, a move widely criticised by doctors and health experts.