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RMT warns of risks posed to transport workers as end to mandatory face masks nears

TRANSPORT workers’ lives will be put at risk through the government’s “fatal folly” of removing Covid-19 restrictions from public transport, rail union RMT warned today.

And scientists have predicted that tonight’s European Championship Final could lead to a new surge in infections.

The government is expected to confirm that from Monday July 19 next week passengers will no longer be required to wear face masks on buses and trains and “enhanced” cleaning of vehicles by operators will be dumped.

RMT has written to the Westminster, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, warning them of the dangers of removing restrictions from public transport.

General secretary Mick Lynch said the three governments should keep compulsory wearing of face masks on public transport, and maintain social distancing and enhanced cleaning and ventilation standards.

Mr Lynch said: “This week we risk seeing a bonfire of the very regulations that have protected passengers and workers.

“As well as scrapping such obvious protections of face coverings, we are also concerned that operators will want to scale back on other protections such as enhanced cleaning.

“This could be a fatal folly and also entirely unnecessary when there is no reason why our political leaders could not take a more cautious approach, especially when infections are soaring.”

He said the three governments should act collectively because “transport has no borders.”

Scientists at London’s Imperial College have warned that last night’s European Cup final at Wembley, and gatherings of thousands of fans nationwide to watch the game, could cause a new surge in infections.

After Scotland’s Wembley game on June 18, 1,300 Scotland fans who travelled to the game subsequently tested positive.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said today that mask wearing would be “expected” in crowded places such as public transport when Covid restrictrions are lifted this month. 

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