Face coverings will be compulsory in England from June 15. | Reuters

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Face coverings will be compulsory on all public transport in England from June 15, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

"This will mean that you can be refused travel if you don't comply and you could be fined," he said, “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.”

People can use pretty much anything to cover their nose and mouth, from a mask to a scarf or even just a piece of fabric.

“The evidence suggests that wearing face coverings offers some, albeit limited, protection, against the spread of the virus, 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,” said Shapps.

People without face coverings will not be allowed on buses, trains, planes and ferries, but small children and those with disabilities or breathing difficulties will be exempt.

The rule only applies in England, although Shapps said he expects the authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take similar action.