US mask mandate on public transport lifted following court ruling
A federal judge in Florida has ruled that a mask mandate on public transport in the US is unlawful, eliminating the disease prevention measure. According to a Reuters report, the mandate was extended last week until May 3, requiring passengers on trains, planes, in taxis, and at transit hubs to wear face masks. The lifting of the mandate comes as Covid-19 infections in the US are on the increase again.
The mask mandate was one of several directives introduced by the Biden administration in a bid to control the spread of the virus, which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 1 million Americans. The White House has described the ruling as “disappointing” and still has the option to appeal or seek an emergency delay.
Covid-19 infections have started to climb again in the US, which has reported an average of 36,251 new cases a day, and 460 deaths a day, on a 7-day average. It is the highest number of Covid-related deaths in the world.
The World Health Organisation has previously warned against the tendency to compare Covid-19 to a seasonal flu, pointing out that the virus is continuing to evolve quickly.
The lifting of the mask mandate could have an impact on travel demand, either way. According to the Reuters report, demand was on the increase since mid-February, with passenger traffic averaging around 89% of pre-pandemic levels. Lifting the mask mandate could prompt more people to take to the skies again, while making others wary.
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