'Wear face masks despite Freedom Day,' urges Islington's health chief

Pedestrians walk past the National Covid Memorial Wall in Westminster, London

Pedestrians walk past the National Covid Memorial Wall in Westminster, London, following the government announcement of the lifting of almost all coronavirus restrictions from July 19 - Credit: PA

People are being encouraged to continue to wear face coverings in public places by Islington's public health chief, despite it no longer being a legal requirement from Monday (July 19).

London mayor Sadiq Khan has asked transport chiefs to enforce face mask wearing on tube trains and buses beyond 'Freedom Day'.

The council has advised that wearing one while out shopping or in a busy indoor place may stop the virus from spreading and provide reassurance to others.

Easing of restrictions has coincided with a rising number of cases across the UK, and new Covid-19 cases continue to increase in Islington, which has recorded 806 positive tests in the past seven days up to July 13.

Office for National Statistics data showed 701 had tested positive in Islington in the week to July 3, and the week before, there had been 465 new cases.

The weekly incidence rate in Islington is 332 cases per 100,000 – far higher than London’s average rate of 261 per 100,000 and the seventh highest of all 32 boroughs. 

Although restrictions have been relaxed on meeting people indoors, the council has advised it would continue to remain a safer option to meet up outdoors, and to avoid crowded buses, trains and busy places.

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Islington's acting director for Public Health, Jonathan O’Sullivan, said: “The easing of restrictions will be welcomed by many of us, but we need to remember that there will be others who are vulnerable or worried as the final restrictions are removed.  

"It’s really important that we keep doing what we can to keep each other safe from Covid-19.

"Cases are rising again in Islington, and many more contacts needing to self-isolate for 10 days.

"Rates have been concentrated in younger age groups either not eligible or only newly eligible for vaccination, but there are concerns if rates of infection continue that more older and clinically vulnerable people risk also being affected."

The council continues to provide support with emergency food deliveries, shopping, and financial and emotional matters , via its We are Islington helpline on 020 7527 8222 or minicom on 020 7527 1900.