London’s Khan ‘Disappointed’ Govt Didn’t Mandate Continued Mask-Wearing

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: London Mayor Sadiq Khan looks on as he wears a face mask during
Hollie Adams/Getty Images

Labour’s Sadiq Khan has said he was “disappointed” that the national government did not mandate continued mask-wearing on public transport after the London mayor ordered travellers to continue to cover their faces on Transport for London (TfL) services after ‘Freedom Day’.

While most of England is free to abandon masks for shopping and travel on public systems, London’s Mayor Khan tweeted out reminders that “face coverings are compulsory on TfL” as he launched the “Welcome back London” campaign to woo people onto buses and the Tube again.

London is one of a handful of settings across the country where local leaders are still demanding passengers cover up, including Manchester, run by Labour’s Andy Burnham.

Asked if he thought it would have helped had masks on public transport remained the national rule, Sadiq Khan told Sky News on Monday: “It would have been. It would have been far, far easier and had the benefit of being clear and obvious if we had one set of rules for the entire country.

“I’m disappointed they didn’t, but I welcome the fact that what the government didn’t do was veto cities doing what they thought was right. They gave us the autonomy to do what we think is right.”

“If you want to use public transport in London, you must wear a face mask,” Mayor Khan reiterated.

Responding to Khan’s fervour for masks on London’s underground, freedom activist Laurence Fox said: “Worst year for teenage murder in a decade. But yeah, masks”.

Like fellow Labour Party figure Tony Blair, Khan also called for the fully vaccinated to skip quarantine after contact with an infected person sooner, saying the government should “look into the possibility of bringing forward the date — currently the 16th of August — after which you don’t need to self-isolate if you’ve had both jabs and you do a test.”

In an opinion piece for the Daily Mail, Mr Blair had declared authorities should “treat vaccinated people differently from the unvaccinated”, saying: “The vaccinated, if pinged, should be able to take a rapid test and, if negative, not isolate; you could repeat, say, after three days but unless symptomatic, they should be free. The unvaccinated would take a series of tests, and could have a shorter isolation period.”

While left-leaning figures are criticising the Boris Johnson administration for relaxing restrictions on Monday, the Conservative government has in fact rather promoted a state of Covid measures not dissimilar to life in the previous few weeks.

When Prime Minister Johnson announced the end of lockdown last week, he said that he would “expect and recommend” people continue to wear masks on public transport and in shops and pushed for hospitality venues to use the Covid Pass as a vaccine passport — to prove vaccine status or negative test result — to gain entry.

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