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

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."

In other coronavirus news:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A further 7 people have died in the North-East and North Yorkshire after testing positive for coronavirus. Figures published on Thursday afternoon confirmed the region had now seen a total of 1,649 hospital Covid-19 deaths.
  • The official date for when Teesside Airport will reopen has been confirmed, as airlines announce the first flights to restart. The airport closed in March following the government issuing fresh advice against all but essential travel and international travel. All flights including Eastern Airways and KLM flights to Amsterdam and the rest of the UK were suspended as airport bosses saw a sharp fall in demand. But more than 70 days of remaining closed, airport bosses have confirmed that flights are to resume in the next three weeks. Beginning on Monday, June 22, Eastern Airways flights between Teesside Airport, Aberdeen and Belfast will resume.
  • A car dealership firm is to axe around 1,500 jobs and close a further 12 showrooms blaming the coronavirus outbreak and a 'tough' car market. Lookers, which has dealerships in Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle, said it was launching redundancy consulations across all areas of the group.
  • The son of a former miner living in a care home where 24 people have died after suffering from Covid-19 symptoms has said he fears his father’s life is being put at risk. George Robinson has accused Melbury Court care home, in Durham, of creating a ‘smokescreen’ to keep the scale of the problem from the families of residents. The home has the highest number of deaths in the country, and a further 38 residents have recovered from the virus.
  • A Guisborough man has defied all odds and recovered from coronavirus after being hospitalised for nine weeks. Dave Gaulter was reunited with his family on Monday after he was admitted to James Cook Hospital on March 26 with Covid-19.
  • Supermarket chain Tesco have unveiled a new rule for customers queuing up to get into their stores when it is raining. The change comes after the UK basked in warm for several weeks throughout the lockdown. In recent days, the mild temperatures have been swiftly followed by bands of rain. Instead of queuing outside, Tesco have said they may ask people to wait in their cars during spells of wet weather.
  • Debenhams has said it will reopen more than 50 stores later this month as coronavirus restrictions are eased. But the retailer - which recently entered administration - said it will only reopen 120 stores after a series of closures, having entered the lockdown with 142 stores.
  • Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons could reopen in line with non-essential retail in the next two weeks - according to reports. Since lockdown began, all non-essential retail was forced to drop their shutters indefinitely as only a handful of businesses were allowed to trade. Last month, the UK government announced that all non-essential retail including clothing and electrical stores would be able to reopen from June 15. Car dealerships, which were also among the first to close in March, reopened to customers earlier this week. But the Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly considering plans to reopen hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons in England this month. However, it remains unclear when they will reopen across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.