"While the future shape of the pandemic in the UK is hard to predict, the available evidence indicates that local flare-ups are increasingly likely and a second wave a real risk," the medics said in a letter in the British Medical Journal (Photo: iStock).

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has called for consistency in the use of face coverings  across primary care and hospitals to “provide maximum protection from the virus and avoid confusion.”

The Society called on the Government and the NHS to ensure that the measure was extended across primary care and other healthcare settings, after Health Minister Matt Hancock announced on Friday (June 5) that all visitors to hospitals in England would be required to wear face coverings and all hospital staff must wear surgical masks from June 15.

The government announcement came a day after it made face coverings mandatory on public transport, despite initially maintaining that there was inconclusive evidence on the ability of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Coronavirus is still a threat to our pharmacists, their teams and others on the frontline. It’s critical everything possible is done to protect them,” said RPS President Sandra Gidley in a statement.

“Pharmacy teams are on the frontline seeing patients. Alongside PPE and social distancing, encouraging people to wear face-coverings when visiting community pharmacies and general practice will help further protect staff and patients. The Government will need to explain what type of facing covering is useful and how to wear it to best effect,” Gidley added.

Meanwhile, the UK’s death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by 55 to 40,597 as of 1600 GMT on June 7, the lowest rise since a lockdown was imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in March, according to government data published on Monday.

The last time such a low daily increase was reported was on March 22, when the toll rose by 35, according to government data. Johnson imposed a stringent lockdown on the United Kingdom the next day.

A broader measure of the death toll which includes suspected cases, shows the United Kingdom’s death is likely to be above 50,000, according to a Reuters tally of official data sources.

That makes the United Kingdom the second worst-hit country in the world, according to official statistics, after the United States.

(With input from Reuters)

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