Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan’s Mask Mandate on London Transport is Not Based on Science

We’re publishing a guest post today by Rob Tyson, one of the organisers of Smile Free, a group that campaigns against mask mandates in the U.K. Rob points out that Sadiq Khan’s mask mandate on Transport for London doesn’t appear to be based on a single scientific study.

Britain’s well-established, pre-Covid pandemic plan, endorsed by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty as late as March 19th 2020 before being abandoned four days later, contains an interesting sentence relating to the wearing of face masks in the community (an intervention the plan did not recommend):

Although there is a perception that the wearing of facemasks by the public in the community and household setting may be beneficial, there is in fact very little evidence of widespread benefit from their use in this setting. Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good respiratory, hand, and home hygiene behaviour in order for them to achieve the intended benefit. Research also shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours when wearing facemasks for prolonged periods reduces over time.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that no nation on earth can demonstrate ‘widespread benefit’ of forced masking on infection control after a year of mandates, no-one in authority wants to disabuse the public of this perception.

Rather, they want to continue and even intensify this irrational behaviour.

Indeed it is striking how Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) – which runs the London tube, trains and bus network – justify their forced masking requirement.

“Following the science” this ain’t.

Sadiq Khan Calls for Mandatory Face Masks on Public Transport

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to re-impose mandatory face masks on public transport and has recommended that members of the public wear them voluntarily in the meantime. Khan has also called on Londoners to protect the NHS this winter by receiving a Covid booster vaccine when it becomes available, as well as to book a place for the annual flu jab. The MailOnline has the story.

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 Covid 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% 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%, despite no change in official guidance.

The London Mayor said in a statement that 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 in London 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 I’m 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.

Worth reading in full.

Masks Will Stay on London Transport for “As Long as the Virus Is Still With Us”, Says Sadiq Khan

London commuters hoping to return to normality after July 19th are in for disappointment, as Sadiq Khan says face masks will remain compulsory on transport networks within the city beyond “Freedom Day” and for “as long as the virus is still with us”. London is the first city to announce that it will continue mandating mask-wearing after this date. Greater Manchester looks set to be the next, with Mayor Andy Burnham refusing to “rule out” keeping restrictions. BBC News has the story.

Sadiq Khan said he was not prepared to put Tube, tram and other transport users at risk by relaxing the rules on face coverings.

Face masks have been mandatory on public transport for the past year to reduce the spread of the virus.

But those rules will be replaced with Government guidance advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services.

England is removing most of its Covid restrictions next Monday, and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects masks to be worn in crowded places, such as on a busy Tube train, their use will no longer be compulsory.

But Mr Khan has gone further and made it a condition of carriage for the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail.

This means that, despite the easing of restrictions on July 19th, it will be listed as a condition in a legal agreement between TfL and its customers.

Mr Khan said: “We know from the Government’s own advisors and from the World Health Organisation, that wearing a face covering indoors does reduce transmissions.

“It leads to greater public safety and greater public confidence as well.

“As long as the virus is still with us, and as long as we’re still concerned about the virus being transmitted, we will make it compulsory.”

He said he was “confident you will see from Monday high levels of the rules being followed just like there have been since last June”.

TfL’s 400 enforcement officers will deny those without a face covering from using London transport, under the plan.

TfL staff and bus drivers will continue to remind passengers that masks are a requirement, Mr Khan said.

Worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Times Radio this morning that Sadiq Khan’s decision “makes sense”. He is quoted in the Guardian:

We expect carriers to provide rules or what we call conditions of carriage appropriate to their own circumstances. And obviously, London Underground is a particularly crowded network. And, of course, we said people should wear masks in crowded areas. So just in the same way as the airlines have made it a stipulation – an ongoing stipulation – we expected – indeed invited TfL – to do the same thing. So no surprises there. And if you think about it, it makes sense.

Also worth reading in full.

Where Do London’s Mayoral Candidates Stand on Lockdown?

A Lockdown Sceptics reader has emailed all the anti-lockdown candidates in the London mayoral election with a questionnaire, trying to work out just how “anti” they are. They all come out pretty well, although some are more sound than others. Here, for instance, are the answers of Steve Kelleher, the SDP candidate.

Should London be opening quicker than the current roadmap?
Yes. On the data there is no reason why we can’t open the economy and society in general immediately. This country has lent immense trust to the Government during this pandemic. That trust is beginning to fray.

What changes would you like to see immediately?
London’s economic and social institutions should be reopened. The vaccine programme has successfully protected the overwhelming number of vulnerable citizens. If the Government genuinely backs the vaccine it should re-open society and the economy.

What do you think have been the biggest mistakes of the lockdown?
A total failure by the Government to properly assess the social and economic costs of the suppression measures. From the start the Government has failed to acknowledge the cost-benefit trade-offs associated with its lockdown measures. Like Tony Blair and Iraq – this Government will never acknowledge its staggering mistake.

Do you support vaccine passports for international travel?
The SDP is not keen on vaccine passports in principle. However, I believe the market will decide. Vaccine passports will emerge for international travel irrespective of UK public policy because airlines, some nation states and other organisations will mandate it. You can’t gain entry to Ghana without a yellow fever certificate.

Do you support vaccine passports for domestic use?
In general, a strong no. The idea of having to produce a vaccine certificate to obtain goods and services or to enter public facilities is totally wrong, in principle, in a free society.

When do you think Londoners should return to the office?
As soon as possible. Let’s get London buzzing again.

When should international travel be restored?
The Government should be very careful in permitting unlimited travel to known pandemic hotspots this summer. Many states in continental Europe are suffering steepening viral curves and while that is the case the UK should act cautiously. It is far better to prioritise and re-open the domestic UK economy than to prioritise international travel.

Read the responses from Lawrence Fox (Reclaim), Dr Peter Gammons (UKIP), Piers Corbyn (Let London Live), Brian Rose (London Real Party) and David Kurten (Heritage) here.

Worth reading in full.