Commuters wear masks on first day face coverings are compulsory – or face £100 fines

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COMMUTERS have today donned masks on the first day face coverings are compulsory in coronavirus Britain.

Brits pulled on the face coverings as they got on trains and Tubes this morning to stop the spread of the deadly bug.

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Commuters were this morning pictured at Waterloo station wearing masks as they headed back to work.

British Transport Police will have the power to fine rule breakers £100 if they fail to wear the safety precautions.

And BTP today tweeted out a reminder to Brits to make sure they wear the masks – with the items being handed out at many stations to make sure people are following the rules.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that from June 15 it will be mandatory for people to wear face coverings on public transport.

This includes on trains, buses, trams, ferries and aircraft.

Masking the mouth and nose reduces the risk of asymptomatic carriers — people who are infected but showing no symptoms — from passing on the bug.

A DIY face-covering can be used — even just a scarf or a thin cloth mask.

Railway staff will also adopt the mask-wearing guidelines.

But the Government has warned that for face coverings to be effective, people must wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off.

The government is asking people to use a simple face covering, and not buy up PPE standard medical masks as they still are needed for the NHS.

Private hire taxis and minicabs are also included in the ­measures, but the rules do not cover bus stops, railway stations and other terminals.

Anyone not wearing a mask will be kicked off unless they are disabled, young children or have breathing difficulties.

Face coverings are now also compulsory in hospitals, with staff, visitors and outpatients required to wear them.

Mr Shapps said that it would be an England-only rule, but he expects that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will follow suit.

He said: “You can be refused travel if you don’t comply and you could be fined.”

The Department of Health said previously, after considering the latest scientific advice from SAGE, that face coverings can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

They stressed that the evidence shows face coverings can stop you passing coronavirus on to others, if you are asymptomatic or have yet to develop symptoms.

A new German study last week showed that the compulsory use of facemasks slows the spread of coronavirus by 40 per cent.

The study was able to use the staggered introduction of masks in shops and on public transport across Germany as a natural experiment to test how effective the masks were.

Looking at the new cases in the days that followed the experiment, scientists found that there is “strong and convincing statistical support” that the masks “strongly reduced the number of incidences”. 

Scientists have even suggested that wearing face masks might protect against coronavirus better than handwashing or social distancing.

But some scientists criticised the mandatory use of face masks on the grounds that there was still no evidence that masks helped stop the spread of the virus.

Other groups argue that without strong evidence, there was a clear plausible mechanism for how even homemade cloth masks could stop onward transmission through droplets.

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