A world health chief told MPs to wear masks in the Commons chamber during the Budget speech on Wednesday.
Dr David Nabarro, World Health Organisation special coronavirus envoy for Europe, urged the wearing of face coverings in crowded spaces, stressing: “everybody should be doing it, including our leaders”.
Most Tory MPs have not been wearing masks in the chamber, with Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg arguing, to the dismay of some health experts, that they did not need to do so as they knew each other.
Dr Nabarro, chair of Global Health at Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, told Sky News: “It’s not a party political issue - this virus doesn’t vote.
“So everybody, wear masks when you are in close confinement, it’s the right sensible proper thing to do, and everybody should be doing it, including our leaders.”
He continued: “This virus, it is absolutely unstoppable, it gets everywhere, and so we have to do everything we possibly can to stop it.
“And one of the best ways to stop it is a well-fitting surgical mask properly over your face, pushed in over your nose, covering everything, and that reduces the risk to others and the risk to you.
“If it works, why on earth don’t people use it?”
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has taken a lead among Tory MPs now, saying he will wear a mask when Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers the Budget and Comprehensive Spending Review tomorrow.
Labour and other Opposition MPs have been donning masks in the Commons.