UK railway stations and trains are COVID free

Network Rail says tests have found no traces of Covid-19 in swabs and air samples of four major railway stations and intercity train services.

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Two lots of testing took place at London Euston, Birmingham New Street, Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly station. Heavily touched areas such as escalator handles were swabbed, while hour-long air samples checked for airborne virus.

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Tests were repeated on trains running between the stations. There has been extra cleaning of transport services throughout the pandemic to protect against the virus spreading through contaminated surfaces and the air.

Imperial College London researchers examined the results of the tests—which took place in January and June—and found no coronavirus contamination of any surface or airborne virus particles.

It follows similar tests on London's Tube trains, buses and stations earlier this year, which found no sign of COVID-19 or new variants.

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Researchers said at the time that this did not mean none is circulating.

David Green, senior research fellow at Imperial College London, said using filters and taking swabs provided 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.'

Rob Mole, senior programme manager for Network Rail's response to the pandemic, said the test results were 'proof' the 'dedicated approach' by station cleaning teams and train staff to keep passengers safe had worked.

He added that staff would continue 'doing our part by rigorously cleaning trains and stations' and asked passengers to 'do their bit' by continuing to wear face coverings while travelling.

Last month, almost all legal restrictions on social contact were lifted in England—including the legal requirement to wear a face covering in settings such as public transport—but they must still be worn on London's transport network. The government still advises face coverings are worn in crowded and enclosed spaces.

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