Luke O'Neill: Mandatory masks should remain on public transport

Prof Luke O’Neill said buses and trains were 'the perfect place' for Covid to spread
Luke O'Neill: Mandatory masks should remain on public transport

Vivienne Clarke

Immunology expert Professor Luke O’Neill has called for mandatory mask wearing to remain in place for public transport.

It comes as mask wearing to reduce the spread of Covid-19 could soon become voluntary in Ireland, with indications that the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) may make the recommendation after meeting on Thursday.

Prof O’Neill told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show that buses and trains were “the perfect place” for the virus to spread.

One of the reasons why there was a reduction in flu cases over the past winter was because of mask wearing, especially on public transport where people were “crammed together” in a “stuffy, enclosed” space, he said.

The virus is still rampant out there - it makes sense to me to leave it a few more weeks

Mask wearing could be optional in other settings, he said. “We can't have laws about everything, can we?”

However, any changes to mask wearing requirements should not be made during flu season, he said. “We’re still in the middle of winter. I think they should maybe leave it a few weeks really until the winter's passed.

“The virus is still rampant out there - it makes sense to me to leave it a few more weeks.”

Prof O’Neill said that even when masks become optional, he would recommend that people should continue wearing them.

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