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COVID-19: Face masks to be mandatory on public transport in England

The Transport Secretary has said that the wearing of facial covers in England would be mandatory on public transport from 15 June.   "Every precaution" must be taken because the number of passengers is to increase once lockdown steps have been further alleviated, Grant Shapps said.

In England Face covers must be used on buses , trams, trains, boats, planes and ferries.   He said that there should be exemptions for very young children, people with disabilities and people with breathing problems.   It is because the UK reported 176 people deaths, with a total number of deaths in Britain of 39,904, who tested positively for coronavirus.

Mr Shapps said that the facial coverings in his daily coronavirus briefing are "conditional for travel" and not "lastly" can lead to a decent result.   But he said, "Why people wouldn't want the right thing to do?"  Mr Shapps stated that surgical masks should be maintained for clinical purposes, and travelers should instead wear the type of face covering that could be made at home.

He also emphasized that the major steps to prevent the spread of the disease remain social distancing and regular hand washing.   The change in the law coincides with the expected reopening, on 15 June, of non-essential retail and return of high school pupils in England, which Mr Shapps said would place "more pressure" on the network of public transport.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon from Scotland said earlier that her government was considering requiring the wearing of face covers in certain cases.   Scotland is now planning to wear shop and public transit coverings.   In Wales, the general public is not yet advised to cover their faces. People in Northern Ireland have been told that they should wear them at places where social distance is not observed.

Face-covering research has been described by many authorities as "slender" and there has always been fear of a rush to snap medical masks for health professionals.   However, laboratory experiments have shown not only how widely coughs can disperse droplets, but also how different materials can significantly reduce the number of droplets.

The decisive factor for the US government was the risk that the virus might spread to people who didn't realize it.   It's a sensation of altruism for others: a homemade mask won't protect you a big job but can reduce your chances of infecting others.  And the risk of infection spreading decreases if more people follow the advice.   In the history of science, there have been passionate disputes about this.

And even supporters agreed that the public with masks won't break the virus by themselves; however, this might be a useful tool if we are released from the lockdown.  Sir Peter Hendy, President of the Network Railway, stated that he wasn't expecting a "great boom" in the police force.  He said in his Downing Street briefing "I am hoping for sensitive passengers to perform their duties and take care of themselves and others.

Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, after lobbying for the change, said that he was happy that "the Government finally saw sense."   After dozens of transport workers died after contracted Covid-19, the Unions pushed for compulsory facial cover.   

Mick Whelan, general secretary of the Aslef union of train operators, welcomed the announcement, saying that this was a "sensible move" to mitigate traveler concerns.   

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMMT, however, said the coverage was 'long overdue' and 'close enough' just for the safety of passengers and staff.

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