Tony Blair Institute says Government must be prepared to bring back mandatory face masks on public transport

It came as part of a string of suggestions in a new paper released by the institute, titled "Three Months to Save the NHS"

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The Tony Blair Institute has said the Government must be prepared to bring back mandatory mask wearing on public transport this winter.

In a new paper released, titled: “Three Months to Save the NHS”, the institute said the health service “is on the brink of disaster and the government must immediately prepare for an existential crisis this winter.”

The report added: “(People) across the UK are waiting for elective treatments, accident-and-emergency (A&E) waiting times are almost at an all-time high and cancer targets, among others, are not being met.

"More than 300,000 people are on the waiting list for cancer treatment in England, with nearly 40,000 waiting more than 62 days after a GP referral for suspected cancer."

Tony Blair
Tony Blair
The Tony Blair Institute has said the Government must be prepared to bring back mandatory mask wearing on public transport
The Tony Blair Institute has said the Government must be prepared to bring back mandatory mask wearing on public transport

The institute, set up by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, described this winter as the “perfect storm, resulting in unprecedented demand and reduced capacity, which will combine to create the worst winter crisis in the NHS’s history.”

In action points they’d like the Government to act on, the Institute called on the Covid-19 and flu vaccine strategies to be extended to everyone over the age of 18 and not just over 50s this autumn.

While they also called for mask mandates to be be considered for the autumn and winter.

The report said: “At times of high Covid-19 transmission, or when there is an elevated general risk (such as when a new variant emerges), or a higher likelihood of severe outcomes (when an outbreak coincides with the flu season), the government should be prepared to reinstate the mask requirements that were in place.

“This would mean mandatory mask wearing on public transport and most indoor public venues (excluding hospitality) during the winter.

“The Government should reserve the capability to activate such a plan quickly, if necessary.”

Among the other suggestions include improving the speed and consistency of access to primary care and mandating FFP2/3 face-mask wearing for NHS staff in health-care settings.