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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says masks should stay on transport in the city despite rule lift
Sadiq Khan has said customers on the Tube and buses will still have to don masks – despite the Prime Minister ending the rule to wear them.
Earlier the Prime Minister announced England will return to Plan A after claiming ‘our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally’.
But Mr Khan said this afternoon: ‘The easing of Covid-19 restrictions in London and across our country is great news for our city’s economic recovery. London is the heartbeat of our nation’s economy and too many businesses had their future hanging in the balance coming into the new year due to inadequate government support.
‘It’s been made possible by the fantastic efforts of everyone in our city, including our amazing NHS staff who have worked around the clock to administer the lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine. Everyone who wore a mask, took a lateral flow test or followed the advice to work from home where possible, has helped our city turn the corner.
‘But sadly this is not the end of our fight against the virus. Covid-19 still poses a significant threat to all of us, our livelihoods and our loved ones. Wearing a face covering is one of the single most important and easiest things we can all do to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the Government should rethink their plans and keep legislation in place to make them mandatory on public transport as well as in shops and indoor public venues.
Tube passengers earlier this week were all wearing masks to obey the then PPE rules
‘This ensures the rules are clear and consistent and crucially means enforcement action can continue to be carried out on our transport network. Compliance of the rules is far higher with legislation than without.
‘If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices. That’s why face coverings will remain a condition of carriage on TfL services.
‘I’m asking everyone in our capital to do the right thing and continue to wear a face covering when travelling on TfL services to keep us all protected and to prevent further restrictions from being necessary later down the line.
Latest Covid deaths and infections figures are down today week on week, stats have shown
Going shopping poses a bigger risk of catching Covid than theatres, sporting events or public transport, a new study by University College London suggests
There was no good evidence of any increased risk for people who attended theatres, cinemas, concerts or sports events. Pictured: A masked audience at the Pavilion theatre in Weymouth
The study, which followed 10,849 people between September and November last year, found shopping could more than double your chance of catching the virus
Facemask compliance according to TfL
Latest with legislation
Customer Survey Info: Customer Pulse survey – 12 December 21 to 08 January 22
The figure of those claiming to wear a face covering on every journey has increased to 86% (Up from 77% between 14 Nov and 11 Dec 21).
Observations of other passengers wearing face coverings has increased to 48% (Up from 23% between 14 Nov and 11 Dec 21) on LU, and to 42% (Up from 22% between 14 Nov and 11 Dec 21) for Buses.
Compliance figures when wearing a mask was just a condition of carriage
Customer Survey Info: Customer Pulse survey – 19 September to 16 October 2021
The figure of those claiming to wear a face covering on every journey has increased to 78% (Up from 77% between 22 August to 18 September).
Observations of other passengers wearing face coverings has decreased to 27% (Down from 31% between 22 August to 18 September) on LU, and to 25% for Buses (Down from 33% between 22 August to 18 September)
‘It’s important that Londoners continue to test regularly and report their results, to keep our communities safe from infection. I also want to urge anyone who hasn’t come forward for their first, second, or booster vaccination to do so now, even if you’ve had Covid-19 before. It’s never too late.’
Under-fire Mr Johnson said that data showed that the current wave of coronavirus was now in retreat.
He announced England will return to Plan A after claiming ‘our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally’.
He told the House of Commons: ‘Today’s latest ONS data show clearly that infection levels are falling in England and while there are some places where cases are likely to continue rising, including in primary schools, our scientists believe it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally.
‘There remain, of course, significant pressures on the NHS across our country, and especially in the North East and North West, but hospital admissions which were doubling every nine days just two weeks ago have now stabilised, with admissions in London even falling. The numbers in intensive care not only remain low but are actually also falling.’
Mr Johnson added: ‘So, this morning, the Cabinet concluded that because of the extraordinary booster campaign, together with the way the public have responded to the Plan B measures, we can return to Plan A in England and allow Plan B regulations to expire.
‘As a result, from the start of Thursday next week mandatory certification will end. Organisations can, of course, choose to use the NHS Covid pass voluntarily but we will end the compulsory use of Covid status certification in England.’
The news comes just weeks after a new study suggested going shopping posed a bigger risk of catching Covid than theatres, sporting events or public transport.
Research by University College London (UCL) found there was little evidence that these activities were more likely to cause infection.
The study, which followed 10,849 people between September and November last year, found shopping could more than double your chance of catching the virus.
The other activities most likely to raise the risk of infection outside the home were playing in a team sport outdoors (36 per cent), going to the gym (27 per cent) and going to an indoor pub, club or bar (28 per cent).
Using public transport more than once a week increased the risk by 28 per cent – with buses the most dangerous, increasing the risk by 31 per cent.
Taxis came next, at 19 per cent, followed by overground trains, at 18 per cent.
But there was little to no evidence that underground trains were any less safe.
Transport watchdog London TravelWatch welcomed the move.
Director Emma Gibson said: ‘Seven out of 10 people say that they feel safer on public transport if other people are wearing face coverings, this figure is even higher for older people and those who use public transport more regularly.’
So what is changing… and when will it happen? Your guide to the post-curb rules as Boris Johnson announces the end of Covid Plan B restrictions
WORKING FROM HOME
The Prime Minister said the Government is no longer asking people to work from home. He called on people to speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office.
MASKS IN SCHOOLS
From today, secondary school pupils will not have to wear face coverings in classrooms.
The requirement to wear masks in corridors and other communal areas will end next Thursday, January 27.
Face masks in schools will no longer be required from next Thursday
FROM NEXT THURSDAY
MASKS IN PUBLIC PLACES
From next Thursday, the Government will no longer legally mandate the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport.
But they will continue to suggest masks should be worn in enclosed and crowded places where people could come into contact with those they do not normally meet.
The Prime Minister said this meant the Government will ‘trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one’.
Proof of vaccination or a recent negative test will no longer be needed to enter nightclubs and large venues from next Thursday.
But businesses will still be free to use the NHS Covid Pass if they want.
BY THE END OF THE MONTH
An announcement is expected soon on scrapping the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to take a Covid test on returning to England.
No 10 said the rules will be reviewed by the end of January.
Plans to ease restrictions on care home visits will be announced in the next few days. At present, care homes must impose severe restrictions on visitors for up to 28 days if there has been a Covid outbreak affecting two or more residents.
BY MARCH AT THE LATEST
Boris Johnson said he ‘very much expects’ not to renew the legal requirement to self-isolate with Covid when the rules lapse on March 24.
He said this could happen even earlier, if the data allows.
The legal requirement will be replaced with guidance that urges people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.
Free Covid lateral flow tests look set to be scrapped by July.
People will be pointed towards an online ordering system to purchase the tests, which cost £30 for a pack of seven.
Source: Daily Mail