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Distancing and masks cut Covid-19 risk, says largest review of evidence

LONDON – Keeping at least one metre apart and wearing face masks and eye protection are the best ways to cut the risk of Covid-19 infection, according to the largest review to date of studies on coronavirus disease transmission.

In a review that pooled evidence from 172 studies in 16 countries, researchers found frequent handwashing and good hygiene are also critical – though even all those measures combined can not give full protection.

The findings, published in The Lancet journal on Monday, will help guide governments and health agencies, some of whom have given conflicting advice on measures, largely because of limited information about Covid-19.

“Our findings are the first to synthesise all direct information on Covid-19, SARS, and MERS, and provide the currently best available evidence on the optimum use of these common and simple interventions to help ‘flatten the curve'”, said Holger Schünemann from McMaster University in Canada, who co-led the research.

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