'Dropping mandatory masks is communicating that transmission no longer matters'

6 August 2021, 12:17

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A social psychologist has said the decision by the Government to drop the mandatory wearing of face masks in public spaces in England from Covid-19 regulations is "communicating that transmission no longer matters".

Professor Clifford Stott, of Keele University, told LBC: "I think the data that we do have shows that the majority of the public do want to retain some legal infrastructure around there - so I think the latest data was around about 67% of the population."

He made the comments in response to calls by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to enforce mask-wearing on public transport by law.

Prof Stott, who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (Spi-B,) added: "I think this is a broader issue about how the Government is communicating that transmission no longer matters.

"I think the argument that we should be having here is that it's about the way that the broader relaxation of the Government's position over the virus is effectively communicating to people that transmission is no longer that important.

"Yet at the same time, of course, we're seeing this rise and very heavy spread of the Delta variant."

The Mayor of London is lobbying the Government to allow TfL to enforce masks on the Underground through the introduction of a new bylaw