Top UK Scientist Equates ‘Antisocial’ Refusal to Wear a Mask to Drink Driving

A police officer wears a face mask as he stands on the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on June 15, 2020 after new rules make wearing face coverings on public transport compulsory while the UK further eases its coronavirus lockdown. - New coronavirus pandemic rules coming into force on …
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images

Head of the Royal Society Venki Ramakrishnan said it was time to normalise mask-wearing and treat those who do not as social pariahs who risk lives as much as drink drivers.

“It used to be quite normal to have quite a few drinks and drive home, and it also used to be normal to drive without seatbelts,” Prof Ramakrishnan.

“Today both of those would be considered antisocial, and not wearing face coverings in public should be regarded in the same way,” he added, in comments reported by The Times.

Ramakrishnan made the remarks as the Royal Society released a study showing that Britons are some of the most reluctant in the world to wear face coverings.

Britons have already tolerated more than three months of lockdown, the majority of the time being told to remain in their homes and subject to overzealous enforcement of the lockdown by police.

The government has already made it illegal to take public transport in England without wearing a mask or face covering, with those refusing risking a fine of £100.

However, the health minister has confirmed that he is considering further mask laws on Britons, forcing them to cover their face in shops and supermarkets, as well.

On Tuesday, Labour MP for Sheffield South East, Clive Betts, asked Matt Hancock: “Would he look at some scheme for issuing a pass or a badge to those who have an exemption from wearing a face mask on public transport so those who aren’t exempt can be required to wear them?

“And secondly, will he look again at the lack of any advice about wearing face masks in supermarkets and other shops?

“Because surely it is just as easy to catch the virus in a supermarket queue as it is on the bus.”

The health secretary replied: “Yes, and yes.”

Labour’s mayor Sadiq Khan has already called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to force people to wear masks in shops, supermarkets, and other public places.

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