In today's government coronavirus briefing, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps revealed that from June 15 face coverings would be mandatory on public transport in England.

He also said 39,904 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, up by 176 from 39,728 the day before.

Mr Shapps told the Number 10 daily briefing that 220,057 tests were carried out or dispatched in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Thursday, with 1,805 positive results.

Overall, a total of 5,005,565 tests have been carried out and 281,661 cases have been confirmed positive.

Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England from June 15, Grant Shapps has announced.

Travellers could be fined or refused permission to board buses or trains if they refuse to comply with the order.

At the Downing Street press conference Mr Shapps said: "I can announce that as of Monday June 15 face coverings will become mandatory on public transport.

"That doesn't mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings. It means the kind of face covering, you can easily make at home. There will be exemptions to these rules for very young children, for disabled people and those with breathing difficulties."

He said "we need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft, and on ferries".

"With more people using transport the evidence suggests wearing face coverings offers some - albeit limited - protection against the spread for the virus."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said staff who come into contact with passengers will also have to wear face coverings, as he said all the measures apply only in England.

Mr Shapps told the Downing Street briefing: "Of course frontline staff, those in contact with passengers, doing such an important job at this crucial time will also need to wear face coverings.

"In the coming days the Government will work with the unions, who've been supportive, for which I'm very grateful, transport operators and the police to ensure that they've the supplies they need to be safe and to provide reassurance to the public.

"These measures apply in England but we're working with the devolved administrations ahead of implementation."

Mr Shapps told the press conference the changes would be made under the National Rail conditions of travel and public service vehicle regulations for buses.

"This will mean that you can be refused travel if you don't comply and you could be fined.

"Alongside transport operators, this will be enforced by the British Transport Police if necessary, but I expect the vast majority of people won't need to be forced into this, because wearing a face covering helps protect others."

Mr Shapps said he wants to use the recovery from the pandemic to ensure people travel by greener means.

Mr Shapps told the Downing Street briefing that there has been a 100% increase in weekday cycling going up to 200% at the weekend compared to pre-Covid-19.

"We want to use this recovery to permanently change the way we travel," he said.

Mick Whelan, general secretary of the train drivers' union Aslef, said: "This is a sensible step. We have been working closely with the Government to ensure that agreed increases in services on Britain's train and Tube network is done in a safe and controlled manner, to help spread the loading, and maintain social distancing for the safety of passengers and staff.

"The instruction to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus will ease the concerns of people travelling, and working, on the transport network."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "I'm pleased that our lobbying has paid off and the Government has finally seen sense and made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings on public transport.

"This is something I and others have been calling on ministers to do for some time, and is in line with a large body of evidence that they can help stop the spread of coronavirus."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), said: "The RMT has been campaigning for compulsory wearing of masks on public transport and this is long overdue, but we fear this announcement is being driven not by safety concerns but by the premature easing of the lockdown which is swelling passenger numbers and making social distancing on transport increasingly impossible.

"By themselves, face masks are nowhere near enough to protect passengers and worker safety on public transport.

"They need to be combined with preventing non-essential travel and compulsory enforcement of two-metre social distancing."

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said travel companies must refund people whose holidays are cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Companies can either offer you a voucher or they can offer the money back. Ultimately they must offer the money back if you prefer," he told the No 10 daily press briefing.

"It is very important that travel companies do treat their customers properly and I will be doing everything I can to encourage them, to make sure they pay back or offer a voucher."

Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy has said he expects most passengers to comply with the requirement to wear face coverings.

"I am not expecting a huge upsurge in railway staff having to police this," he told the No 10 daily briefing.

"I am expecting sensible passengers to do their duty and look after themselves and others."

Mr Shapps said that if people refused to comply they could be fined.

"It is condition of travel. You cannot travel unless you are wearing a face covering," he said.

"There will also be other powers so it could ultimately lead to fines. I very much hope we won't be in that situation."