The British government has been told that plexiglass screens could possibly increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to documents obtained by Politico.
These documents give UK government ministers “clear guidance” that the plexiglass screens appearing in many offices and restaurants “should be scrapped.” It is unlikely that such screens actually decrease COVID transmission. In fact, they might increase transmission by blocking a room’s natural airflow.
Many plexiglass screens may also be rendered useless when businesses do not correctly position them—something that remains a common problem, per the documents.
The Independent is reporting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson has shot down these claims, stating that they “come from a document we do not recognize and it does not reflect the latest government thinking.” Current guidance on plexiglass screens will thus remain in place until more evidence that businesses need to ditch them arises.
Britain remains stuck in “Stage Three” of their gradual reopening. Prime Minister Johnson initially targeted June 21 as the day to remove virtually all restrictions, though the emergence of COVID’s “Delta” variant has put a full reopening on hold. Official daily cases in the UK have more than tripled over the past month, though they remain significantly lower than their 60,000 cases per day peak in early January.