Coronavirus SHOCK: Why Brits SHOULDN’T look for N95 face masks

The novel coronavirus and its associated disease COVID-19, has begun a steady course of infections in the UK this week, with 163 total cases reported by the Government. Officials recorded a significant leap in cases overnight yesterday, with a total of 48 from Thursday to Friday.

People have had varied reactions to the virus’ entry and establishment in the UK.

Some have dismissed the danger of COVID-19 as “just another virus” while others have responded with panic.

Many people scared of the virus have donned face masks which cover their mouths and nose, two potential pathways for the coronavirus to enter the body.

Companies have produced a range of coverings, from run-of-the-mill surgical masks to the ventilated kind.


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As the outbreak has taken off around the world, many people have opted for the N95 mask.

Speaking to, Dr Jonas Nilsen of travel vaccination company Practio said these masks provide the most comprehensive protection from COVID-19.

He said: “Facial masks must be of the N95-type, which block 95 percent of small particles.

“The masks do provide some protection as evidenced by the fact that the Australian government has released 500,000 N95-masks to be worn by frontline staff in Australian GP-practices.”

“Paper masks do not provide much protection against inhaled droplets but might limit the spread from infected individuals to some extent.

“Military gas masks intended for biochemical warfare will obviously provide good protection but is probably not a feasible option for the mass population.”

While Brits would be well-served with the N95 mask, the model is not currently available in the UK.

The American-made mask is either sold out or completely unavailable due to region restrictions, meaning most people in the UK cannot get their hands on it.

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Instead, Europe has a close contender in the FFP2 and FFP3 masks, which use the same method of ventilation but with reduced effectiveness.

Dr Nilsen added: “The closest equivalent to the N95 mask is the FFP2, as the respirator in the N95 mask filters at least 95 percent of particles while the FFP2 filters at least 94 percent of all particles.

“The FFP3 filters a minimum of 99 percent of particles.

“Brits should look for the FFP2 or FFP3 mask, as these are the European equivalents of the N95 mask which is American.

“This also explains why it’s been difficult to get a hold of the N95 mask, whereas the FFP2/FFP3 mask may be more accessible for people in the UK.”

While masks can help to reduce the chances of infection, health officials currently do not recommend people use them.

Public Health England (PHE) and the Government have urged good personal hygiene practices over protective masks or gloves.

They advise people wash their hands for 20 seconds at a time or regularly use hand sanitiser, as well as observing the “catch it, bin it, kill it” campaign, which asks people to blow their nose, dispose of the tissue and clean their hands.

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