Sadiq Khan defends tougher punishment for non-mask wearers

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Sadiq Khan has called for non-mask wearers to face criminal charges, saying he wants to see police on the tube enforcing the use of face masks. It came after a drop in COVID-19 cases for the fifth day in a row on Tuesday.

He spoke on BBC Newcast: Well firstly, it’s really important to remind listeners that actually, the evidence is that facemasks do make a difference both from the World Health Organization, our own scientific advisory group but also things like America’s Center for Disease Control.

“It helps the prevention of disease, but it also can stop you from catching the virus as well.

Before the government eased restrictions in the latest phase of the roadmap, I lobbied the government to keep the current rules, which was a national legislation, a national requirement, which meant if you didn’t wear a face mask we could use the police service but also British Transport Police, as well as TfL’s own enforcement officers to make sure you wore a face mask.”

Read more: Holidays are back on! Grant Shapps announces no changes to rules in next three weeks

He continued: “And that led to over the last 12 months more than 212,000 people being spoken to, thousands of fixed penalty notices and roughly speaking, 86% of people using public transport in London following the rules.

“And by the way, those that won’t, two thirds of those had a good reason not to wear a face mask.”

Since July 19, face coverings are no longer legally required in England.

Infection cases dropped by around 40%, and deaths and hospitalizations have stayed low despite the ending of all restrictions.

However, official advice “expects and recommends” them in enclosed and crowded spaces.

The Mayor of London has been pushing for parliment to allow the transport body to impose a by-law making face masks mandatory.

Evidence suggests that transmission mainly happens indoors where people are close together.

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Face coverings worn over the nose and mouth reduce the spread of Covid-19 droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking.

Also, some new virus variants appear more transmissible.

Currently, the TFL requires travellers to wear a covering as a ‘condition of carriage’.

It means that staff can tell passengers who disobey to get off the train or bus, but they cannot issue fine.


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