Ministers are considering telling the public to wear gloves to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Conservative Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked: “Has the Government formed a view on the use of gloves?
“Obviously we’re all following the guidance of washing our hands but surely the correct use of gloves outdoors and indoors could prevent the passing on of the virus?”
Health minister Lord Bethell, concluding a debate on coronavirus regulations, replied: “To date, gloves are not in the guidance but they remain an area that we’re looking at.”
The exchanges came on the day people in England were required to start wearing face coverings in shops, shopping centres, banks, takeaways, post offices, sandwich shops and supermarkets or risk a £100 fine.
Venues such as restaurants, pubs, gyms, salons and theatres will be exempt from the rule.
People with disabilities, health conditions and children under the age of 11 do not have to wear a covering.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “As we move into the next stage of easing restrictions for the public, it is vital we continue to shop safely so that we can make the most of our fantastic retail industry this summer.
“Everyone must play their part in fighting this virus by following this new guidance. I also want to thank the British public for all the sacrifices they are making to help keep this country safe.”
The announcement ended days of confusion after ministers apparently gave different accounts of what the rules would be for buying a takeaway coffee.
The guidance says it will be mandatory to wear a face covering when buying a takeaway coffee from a café.
“It will be compulsory to wear a mask when buying food and drink to take away from cafés and shops,” the Department of Health said.
“If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on site.”