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Masks Are Here to Stay as Downing Street Updates COVID-19 'Freedom Day' Message

© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinA London Underground worker, right, hands over a free face masks to a passenger at London's Baker Street station, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Wearing a face mask will become compulsory on the London TFL public transport service starting from June 15, 2020, as a safety measure to contrast the COVID-19 pandemic.
A London Underground worker, right, hands over a free face masks to a passenger at London's Baker Street station, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Wearing a face mask will become compulsory on the London TFL public transport service starting from June 15, 2020, as a safety measure to contrast the COVID-19 pandemic.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.07.2021
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As England prepares to celebrate the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, public transport passengers in London will be “expected” to wear face coverings and “support London’s economic recovery”.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, released the guidance on Wednesday under the familiar slogan “My mask protects you, your mask protects me”.
​Khan has been adamant about the retention of the face covering measure as part of a roadmap out of the pandemic. London is the first English city to reverse the decision on mask wearing, following an update from the government saying that mask use will no longer be compulsory on public transport. 
"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”, Khan said.
The London mayor’s office referred to the WHO guidance that even double-vaccinated people should continue to wear face coverings in view of highly contagious variants, such as Delta. 
​Londoners have overall been good at face mask compliance, according to Transport for London (TfL). Its research has shown that 86 percent of customers say they are wearing face coverings at all times on public transport services. 
The provisions of the so-called “Freedom Day” in England include the removal of the majority of legal restrictions and a gradual return to workplaces as opposed to working from home. The government has recommended that the public use the NHS COVID Pass in high-risk settings, such as large events.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will still be legally required to self-isolate. Quarantine rules will also remain for all those travelling from a red list country, and for amber list countries unless double vaccinated.
An update on travel restrictions is expected in the next 48 hours, with hopes in the tourism sector that Cyprus will be moved from amber to the green list.
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