A FACE covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth.

People can buy reusable or single-use face coverings.

A scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering can also be used, but these must securely fit round the side of the face, and cover the nose and mouth.

Face coverings are not classified as PPE ­- personal protective equipment ­- which is used in a limited number of settings to protect wearers against hazards and risks, such as surgical masks or respirators used in medical and industrial settings.

Face coverings are instead largely intended to protect others, not the wearer, against the spread of infection because they cover the nose and mouth, which are the main confirmed sources of transmission of virus that causes coronavirus infection - Covid-19.

Experts say the risk of coronavirus transmission appears to be higher in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces and wearing face coverings in small shops or enclosed shopping centres could help reduce the spread.

Home-made face coverings need to be at least two layers and preferably three to curb the spread of Covid-19, new research suggests.

In England, the Department of Health has published guidance for the public on how to make a home-made mask.

It recommends “two or three 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric” sewn together and attached to the ears with elastic.

Visit https: //www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering  for instructions.