More than 60 per cent of people are now wearing face masks in public

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said that 61per cent of the population had used face coverings in the last week and he expected this to continue to increase.

The head of the Office for National Statistic told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “What we are showing is that week on week there is an increase in the number of people who are using face coverings.

“So last week the data would show that 61% of the population had used a face mask in the last week and that’s up from 50% the week before.

“In Scotland 77% of the population were using it for shopping and that I think will continue to go up as it’s become mandatory, in England 40% but of course as that becomes mandatory next Saturday we will see that increase as well.

“But certainly people using face covering and it becoming the norm in many parts of society.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said he had not noticed any uptake in coronavirus since the lockdown measures were eased.

When asked if he had expected to see an increase in the number of infections as lockdown was lifted he told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that it depended on “how the population works”.

He added: “The message has been quite consistent in that we must be alert and we must be socially distanced and if we are really super careful and if we are able to follow all the rules it does seem to me that we should expect there to be a relative flatline at the moment.

“Clearly over the autumn we will need to be ever vigilant.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond said the the Public Health England (PHE) daily Covid-19 death figures which have been paused had “aimed to look at trends over time”.

If people wanted to know the accurate data on deaths they should go to the Office for National Statistics, he added.

When asked if the PHE data was fit for purpose he said: “It’s really important to recognise that different statistics are used for different things and so the PHE data are basically aimed to look at trends over time.

“If you want to know the accurate data on deaths my recommendation is to go to the ONS data.

“We believe very firmly, as does everyone, that the very best person to take a decision around what’s the cause of death is the medical practitioner who is there at the time.

“Someone who has Covid but then gets run over by a bus – it is inconceivable a medical practitioner is going to say the cause is Covid-19.”

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