Tests taken at some of the UK’s major railway stations found no traces of coronavirus on surfaces or in the air, Network Rail has said.
PA reports that places passengers regularly touch, like escalator handles, ticket machines and benches were swabbed for coronavirus, and hour-long air samples were taken.
The study consisted of two rounds of testing carried out at London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly in January and June, and tests were repeated on trains running between the stations.
The results were analysed by Imperial College London, which found no Covid-19 contamination on any surface, nor any airborne particles of the virus.
Rob Mole, senior programme manager for Network Rail’s response to the pandemic, said: “Station cleaning teams and train staff have made it their mission to keep passengers safe during the pandemic and this is proof their dedicated approach works.
“We want all passengers to travel in confidence on the railway network and we will keep doing our part by rigorously cleaning trains and stations.
“We ask passengers to do their bit too by wearing face coverings while travelling out of respect for others so we can all stop the spread of Covid-19.”
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The legal requirement to wear face masks on public transport, among other settings, was dropped on July 19.
However, face coverings must be worn on the London Underground and other TfL services, as the website states: “Face coverings must be worn for the full duration of journeys on the TfL network, including inside our stations and bus stations.”
David Green, senior research fellow at Imperial College London, said: “In the same way that a swab is used to take a Covid-19 test in the nose and throat and sent to the lab, we use a filter to collect any virus particles in the air and swabs to collect viruses on surfaces.
“This approach provides a way of quantifying the amount of virus circulating in these public environments and the effect of mitigation strategies like cleaning and wearing face coverings.
“This is part of a wider programme of work with the public transport sector to understand where this virus is most prevalent so that we can return to pre-pandemic activities as safely as possible.”
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