MARK Drakeford has given clarity about the news that face coverings will become compulsory on public transport in England and what this means for Wales.

At the daily coronavirus press conference held by the Welsh Government, the First Minister fielded various questions asking for clarity on the decision by the UK ministers which will see face coverings become essential if people wish to use public transport on June 15.

He said that the situation in Wales is still being reviewed but stressed that, as it stands, the choice to wear face masks remains that of preference for individuals.

He told the nation that the current advice from the chief medical officer for Wales was that wearing face masks gave people "some marginal extra protection" but was not sufficient to make it mandatory.

The First Minister said: “The chief medical officer has expressed his anxieties that people might do more risky things because they think a face mask offers them protection, which it doesn't. But context changes because in England it is mandatory to use face masks while on public transport.

"Trains and roads between north and south Wales weave in and out of the border all the time and in a sheer practical sense we have to think through whether having separate regimes is a possibility when you can leave on a train that starts in Wales, goes into England, comes back into Wales, goes back into England, comes back into Wales.”

When clarifying the practical sense to offer different stances in England and Wales, the minister said that there are a whole series of detailed questions which the Welsh Government continue to explore with colleagues in England on the matter.

He said: "That's what we will be talking about over the next 48 hours into the start of next week, receiving more details from colleagues in England about how they intend their regime to work.

"Then we will provide in an orderly way - not being rushed because somebody else has made the decision - but in an orderly way to give the best advice we can to people in Wales."

Welsh minsters had not discussed the decision with the UK Government to make the wearing of face masks on public transport mandatory, Mr Drakeford confirmed at the conference, and how it would impact on devolved nations.

He said: “I wish that we'd had a chance to explore this with the UK Government before they made the announcements. That would have allowed us to have some answers to the questions that I raised today before the event rather than after the event.

"But while on the bulk of issues we continue to be able to have discussion and co-operation in advance of decision making, in a small number of cases we hear about it only after the decision has been made.

"We're going to have to use the time we now have to find out from them the extent to which they have got answers to these questions in advance of making the decision, or whether it's a matter of making the headline, and then worrying about the detail afterwards."

Earlier on Friday, the British Medical Association (BMA) Wales called on the Welsh Government to change its stance on non-medical face coverings, and ensure a supply are available to the public.

The trade union's council chair for Wales, Dr David Bailey, said: "BMA Cymru Wales advocates the wearing of face coverings by the public in areas where they cannot socially distance.

"There still remains a considerable risk of infection, and emerging evidence has shown that if mouths and noses are covered when people are in areas where they cannot socially distance, it may help in controlling the spread of infection of Covid-19 and therefore save lives.

"BMA Cymru Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to change their position immediately, to lessen the risk of the public spreading the virus."

Wales' main train operator, Transport for Wales, said it would "work collaboratively" with partners to ensure passengers were kept safe travelling across borders.

A spokesman said: "The cross-border nature of our network means that we will continue to work collaboratively with industry partners to ensure customers understand how they can travel safely as they travel between Wales and England.

"The safety of our colleagues and customers is our top priority and we'd like to reinforce the message to stay local and only use public transport if the journey is essential and there's no other travel alternative."