ENGLAND doesn't need to make face coverings mandatory — because good manners are enough to ensure their use, Michael Gove has said.

Despite higher rates of infection and deaths in England, it has not followed Scotland's lead in making face coverings a requirement in enclosed public spaces like shops.

Michael Gove said that is because it is best to trust the public's "common sense".

In an interview with BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show, the Cabinet Office Minister said he would "encourage" the wearing of masks and scarves to limit the spread of Covid-19 as lockdown eases.

But, arguing against making these compulsory, he said: "I think that it is basic good manners, courtesy and consideration, to wear a face mask if you are, for example, in a shop.

"I trust people's good sense. Now of course the Government at all times does look at the emerging evidence about what the best way to control the disease is.

"If necessary, and if tough measures are required and as we have seen in Leicester, obviously a very different situation, then tough measures will be taken.

"But on the whole... it is always best to trust people's common sense."

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The comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wanted to be "stricter" on the use of hinted face coverings in shops.

Labour's Rachel Reeves said the compulsory wearing of face coverings in shops would be a "sensible way forward".

The shadow Cabinet Office minister told Marr: "People are increasingly wearing them but I think some greater clarity from government about that, I think, would be helpful.

"People want to do the right thing but they want to know what the right thing is. We already have it on public transport.

"I think it would inspire greater confidence and might encourage more people to go out and spend money if they see more people wearing face masks in shops."

Gove also told Sky's Sophy Ridge On Sunday that wearing a face covering "definitely helps you to help others in enclosed space".

And he urged people to return to work rather than stay at home to ensure the "economic engines of this country are fired up again", stating: "We want to see more people back at work, on the shop floor, in the office, wherever they can be."

That came as workers were being being quarantined at a farm in Herefordshire after 73 people tested positive for Covid-19.

The UK has the third highest official coronavirus death toll in the world.

The worst-hit countries — America and Brazil — have far higher populations.

Most of the UK's deaths have occurred in England.