A ‘gentle approach’ will be taken to enforce the wearing of face coverings on public transport: What we learned from today's briefing

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that a “gentle approach” will be taken to enforce the wearing of face coverings on public transport from Monday, June 15.

Friday, 12th June 2020, 7:05 pm
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 7:06 pm

The daily briefing on Friday, June 12 was held by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – with support from Professor Stephen Powis, the national medical director for NHS England, and Peter Hendy who is the chair of Network Rail.

During the press conference, the Secretary of State revealed there will be a “gentle approach” to the enforcement of face coverings on public transport.

Other matters such as the R rate, the possibility of a second wave and the creation of jobs were discussed.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps held the daily coronavirus briefing on Friday, June 12. Photo: PA.

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Here is what we learned from today’s daily briefing:

A “gentle approach” will be taken to enforce the wearing of face coverings on public transport

From Monday, June 15, those travelling via public transport will have to wear face masks or coverings by law.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that the Government will take a “gentle approach” over the “first couple of days” to enforce the new measure.

He did warn travellers that those who refuse to comply will not be allowed to travel.

He said: “By its very nature, if you are on a train or a plane or a ferry or a bus you are in an enclosed area.

"That is not the case if you are out and about on the streets and I think that may be the principle difference of this.”

Professor Stephen Powis added: “The evidence is weak, but nevertheless there is some evidence and it is better for closed spaces than open spaces where there is less risk of transmission.”

Reports that the R rate is above 1 in certain areas of the country were played down

Grant Shapps played down reports that the R rate was above 1 in the South West of the country.

It comes as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) released the regional R rates for the first time today.

Mr Shapps said: “I wouldn’t want to rule anything out but I think probably that South West figure today isn’t quite as being reported.

“I think not to be overly alarmed because as Professor Stephen Powis said it was actually the top of a range which had a number of others that showed it was below 1.”

The NHS is preparing for the possibility of a second wave in the winter

Professor Powis revealed that the NHS is preparing itself for the possibility of a second wave in the winter months.

He commented on the fact that the Nightingale Hospitals remain on standby and that the Government is “actively considering what we need to do with those going forward to ensure that if there is a second wave if we have capacity in place”.

Transport Secretary denies reports that the chief nursing officer for England has been unable to take part in daily briefings

Grant Shapp shot down reports that chief nursing officer for England has been unable to take part in daily briefings because she would not back Dominic Cummings.

The Transport Secretary told the Friday briefing that he expected Ruth May would be appearing again at future briefings.

He said: “I don’t think it is true. She has attended them many times before. I notice that at the top of the Number 10 Twitter feed, I see one of her tweets pinned.

“I am absolutely sure she has been a regular contributor before and I am sure she will be back here again.”

A member of the public from Wearside asked a question relating to the creation of jobs

He asked what specific plans are in place to create jobs following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Transport Secretary responded by saying the Government has tried to protect jobs from a “temporary but severe jolt to the economy”.

He added that the Government “want to be proactive in getting the economy going again” but in a “safe way”.

A “jet zero council” will be formed

Mr Shapps revealed that a “jet zero council” will be formed to make the aviation industry more environmentally friendly going forward.

He told the Downing Street briefing: “There’s a real determination within the industry to have a greener restart so we’re bringing together leaders from aviation, environmental groups and Government to form the jet zero council.

“This group will be charged with making net-zero emissions possible for future flights.

“Our goal within a generation will be to demonstrate flight across the Atlantic without harming the environment.”

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