Anti-mask leaflets branded ‘irresponsible’ by councillor

The flyers were hand-delivered through people's letter boxes in East Lothian on Thursday.

Anti-mask leaflets branded ‘irresponsible’ by councillor Getty Images
Coronavirus: Anti-mask leaflets condemned by councillor in East Lothian.

Leaflets featuring debunked claims that face masks are harmful to children have been condemned as “irresponsible”.

The flyers were hand-delivered through people’s letter boxes in Haddington, East Lothian, on Thursday.

The double-sided communication – headlined ‘Children’s Health Alert’ – promoted widely discredited views, which allege face masks and coverings cause oxygen deprivation and claimed hand gels could be toxic.

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, children’s wellbeing spokeswoman for the council, condemned the messages on the leaflet, which carries no indication of who published it.

She said: “Whoever is doing this is wholly irresponsible and is placing lives in danger.

“To protect ourselves, our families, friends, neighbours, our community, and to save lives, we must adhere to the public health advice that we all have been given.”

The leaflets encourage people to challenge teachers over the risk assessments carried out, before asking pupils to wear masks or use hand gel.

And they show images of an unidentified child with a rash around their mouth.

The leaflets were delivered along with another campaign promoting monthly protests outside Holyrood by a combination of anti-lockdown groups.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council urged people to continue to follow advice from schools.

They said: “At a time when progress in tackling Covid-19 remains fragile, it remains essential that everyone follows the really important national and public health advice.

“Our staff have carried out amazing work to keep schools open in a challenging climate, and continuing to do so depends on everyone playing their part.

“We would encourage all parents and carers to continue following the official advice which has been communicated via our schools, as this reflects national guidance and advice which we are required to follow.

“This includes the wearing of face coverings in classrooms by pupils in the senior phase, as well as by pupils travelling on public transport.

“This is of course in addition to other important things, such as washing hands thoroughly.

“Communicating with families has been a key priority since the start of pandemic and we will continue to provide updates on the appropriate advice and steps to follow.”

Story by local democracy reporter Marie Sharp