People should wear face masks when out jogging in busy public places, experts have said.

Scientists warned there is a risk for pedestrians when a ‘puffing and panting’ jogger passes them – but they should be able to ‘run freely’ when in a wide open space.

Under current Covid-19 rules, it is not mandatory for people to wear face coverings in outdoor public places – only when entering indoor venues like shops.

Professor of primary health sciences at the University of Oxford, Trish Greenhalgh, told Good Morning Britain: ‘There is no doubt the virus is in the air, there is no doubt that you can catch it if you inhale, and that someone else has exhaled.

‘The exercising jogger – the puffing and panting jogger – you can feel their breath come and you can sometimes actually feel yourself inhale it, so there’s no doubt that there is a danger there.

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‘40% of Covid cases happen by catching it from people who have no symptoms. So you’re jogging along, you think you’re fine, and then the next day you develop symptoms of Covid, but you’ve actually breathed that Covid onto someone perhaps you know, an old lady walking a dog or something like that.’

Professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar, agreed that people should wear masks in busy areas but it is not necessary in quieter spaces.

‘It really depends how close they are to you and how heavily they’re breathing,’ she said.

‘This can spread through the air and so it is important that runners should think – I do think where am I running and I’m trying to be attentive to pedestrians because the sidewalks are there for pedestrians in busy areas and high streets.

‘[When] you’re out in the park, take off your mask and run freely.’

She said ‘we need some consideration for each other’ and suggested cyclists too should wear a mask in busy areas.

Former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said: ‘For millions of people in the country, through lockdown three though winter, the only thing they have had is running.

‘I don’t think I could do a run with a mask on – it’s hard enough for me to run without a mask.’

However, he added that he has changed his running route during lockdown to avoid more streets and said he would try wearing a mask on his next jog.

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He added: ‘The strict rule that should be enforced is social distancing – if you’re a runner you should know obviously you’re breathing more deeply and you should try not to run into people or run near them.’

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