The BMA London regional council has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to urge him to "take every necessary step" to increase mask wearing across Transport for London, amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus variant Omicron.
The doctors' union warns that it is critically important that in the face of a new strain, which could potentially be more infectious, the public complies with the new mandate for face coverings.
With London among the lowest in the country for vaccination uptake1, with only 60.8% double vaccinated compared to the 80% England average, and given it is the most populous city in the UK with a large influx of travellers, strict adherence to mask wearing is even more important.
In the letter to Sadiq Khan, BMA London regional Council chair Dr Kevin O’Kane writes: "It is of critical importance that in the face of a new Covid-19 variant, that poses a risk to public health, that the public complies, particularly on the underground where large crowds accumulate."
He continues: "I am concerned that without strict enforcement of the mandate, not enough people will be wearing a mask and crowded transport routes will become unsafe. I would be grateful if you could please outline how you plan to enforce this mandate, and how this will draw on lessons learnt since the start of the pandemic to increase mask wearing across TfL."
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- Gov.uk data of vaccination uptake in England.