Sadiq Khan calls for mandatory face masks on public transport and tells Londoners to have the booster vaccine and flu jab

  • The Government has so far been resistant to bringing in the Plan B measures
  • The move would see the reintroduction of mandatory facemasks indoors along
  • Mr Khan has called for Londoners to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and the flu 
  • ‘Deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid’

Sadiq Khan has urged the Government to make face coverings mandatory on public transport as the UK continues to average more than 40,000 Covid cases a day for over a week.

The Government has been resistant to bringing in Plan B measures, which would see the reintroduction of mandatory facemasks indoors and guidance to work from home and the use of Covid passports.

Mr Khan called for Londoners to get vaccinated against coronavirus and the flu to protect the NHS this winter.

It comes as official data shows more and more adults in their 30s and 40s are choosing to wear face masks on buses and trains amid spiralling Covid cases.

An Office for National Statistics poll found 33 per cent of middle-aged adults wore coverings while on public transport at the start of September.

But just a month later this had ticked upwards to almost 40 per cent, despite no change in official guidance.

Sadiq Khan (pictured earlier this week) called for Londoners to get vaccinated against coronavirus and the flu to protect the NHS this winter

The above graph reveals face mask use on public transport. It shows how it has risen among 30 to 49-year-olds since September, when schools went back leading many adults to also return to the office. The lines show the percentage of people who said they wore face masks on public transport, out of those who said they had worn a face mask in the week before they were questioned. The data is from a survey by the Office for National Statistics

The London Mayor said in a statement the ‘deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid’.

He added: ‘The worst thing we can do is to lower our guard, be complacent and underestimate the risk these viruses pose to all of us.

‘The situation with Covid-19 in the capital is so finely balanced that it needs all of us to act together to protect ourselves, our loved ones, the things we enjoy and our NHS this winter.

‘That’s why I’m urging all eligible Londoners to have the booster vaccine and flu jab as soon as you are offered it, continue to wear a mask where you can and am calling on the Government to put simple and effective steps, such as mandatory face coverings on public transport, in place to halt the spread of the virus now.’

The mayor’s comments came after a leading scientist suggested measures in Plan B may not be needed if data continues to show a decline in cases.

The London Mayor said in a statement the ‘deadly virus has not gone away and this winter we’re facing both flu and Covid’. Pictured: The Tube earlier this week

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told a press briefing there is no apparent growth in case numbers but there is a continued rise in hospitalisations.

The Government on Thursday announced all remaining countries on England’s red list for international travel will be removed, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying Whitehall will also recognise coronavirus vaccines for arrivals from than 30 new countries and territories.

Wales advised it will adopt the same changes.

Face mask use has risen since January because the latest figures based on people saying whether they wore a face mask on public transport, and not everyone used buses at the height of the second wave in January.

Dr Raghib Ali, a statistician at Cambridge University, said it was to be expected that face mask use on buses and trains would rise as Covid cases headed north.

He told MailOnline: ‘People tend to change their behaviour when Covid cases go up. We saw that in July as well, and we are heading to a similar level of cases at the moment.’

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