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Oxford researchers believe messages of 'social solidarity' might persuade more people to wear face masks

They say words like 'donning and doffing', 'decontamination' and 'risk' are putting people off.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, academics claim losing some of the medical jargon will help shape a 'new norm' when it comes to protecting against coronavirus. 

They suggest that promoting a social “solidarity” may increase uptake.

“Protracted debates about face coverings as a medical intervention have delayed implementation of a valuable preventive tool,” according to academics from the University of Oxford.

“Now that most countries have shifted to support face coverings to prevent transmission of Covid-19, we must also shift the focus to implementation.

“Instead of continuing to debate technical specifications and efficacy, socio-cultural framing should be explored to encourage their use.

“This can be done by emphasising underlying values such as solidarity and communal safety. Such measures are likely to enhance the uptake of face coverings and help curb the devastating impact of the pandemic.”

They added that they believe that “uptake of face coverings is likely to be advanced by downplaying the medical narrative about ‘standards’, ‘donning and doffing’, ‘decontamination’, and ‘risk’.”

The pandemic has seen many countries with no cultural history of using face coverings suddenly doing so, the Oxford experts said.

In order to increase uptake, campaigns about the use of face coverings should “not only inform, but also work to shape new socio-cultural norms”, they added.

It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that Whitehall ministers are not considering making masks compulsory in England’s workplaces.

French officials are planning to make wearing face coverings compulsory in most work environments as the country faces a rise in cases.

Face coverings are required in many indoor settings in England, but are not currently required for “employees of indoor settings”.

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