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London to keep masks on public transport

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LONDON (AP) – Masks will be compulsory on London’s transport network even after the legal obligation to wear them in England was lifted on July 19, the city’s mayor said on Wednesday.

Sadiq Khan has called on the body which oversees transport in the capital to impose the wearing of masks on subways, buses and trams as a “condition of carriage” – essentially contracts between passengers and Transport for London.

Khan said he was “not ready” to put transport users “at risk” by removing face covering rules after legal restrictions were lifted next Monday despite a large resurgence of the virus across the Kingdom – United as a whole.

Under the new approach described by Khan, law enforcement officers could deny access or eject non-masked passengers when using the metro, buses and trams. The London Metropolitan Police and the UK Transport Police will not be able to intervene, however, as masks will no longer be required by law.

“What would have been much better was if the national rules applied across the country, not just in London but across the country,” he told the BBC. “It would have helped to clarify the rules. “

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that most of the coronavirus restrictions in England, including the mandatory wearing of masks in many indoor public places, will end as part of the final stage of his leaf out of the coronavirus lockdown.

However, Johnson urged people to remain cautious and exercise their “personal responsibility,” a stance that has led to accusations of mixed messages.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Khan’s decision was “very much in line” with what the UK government, which sets public health policy for England, wanted to happen. The other nations of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have not chosen to abandon legal requirements on wearing masks in confined spaces.

“As we move from a legal requirement to guidelines, we expect individual operators to make sure they put in place everything that is appropriate for their network,” Shapps told Sky News.

The lifting of legal restrictions next Monday comes at a time when coronavirus infections are on the rise. The UK recorded 36,660 infections on Tuesday, its highest daily tally in nearly six months. Cases are expected to rise even more, with the government warning that 100,000 daily infections could be possible this summer, a level never seen before.

The UK government believes that the vaccine rollout has mainly broken the link between infections and people requiring hospitalization, as the vast majority of people infected with COVID-19 are in the least vulnerable age group, many of whom have no not yet been vaccinated. As of Tuesday, nearly 69% of the British population had received one dose of the vaccine while 52% had received two.

However, concerns are growing that despite the deployment, the high number of cases will again put pressure on the National Health Service. The number of people requiring hospital care and subsequently dying has increased slightly in recent days, but not at the same rate as infections.

The latest step in easing England’s lockdown means all restrictions on social gatherings will be removed and social distancing measures will be removed. Nightclubs may reopen for the first time since March of last year, and there will be no more limits for people attending concerts, theaters, weddings or sporting events.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage on:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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