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Transport for London is to issue a “Baby on Board”-style “exemption card” for passengers who are unable to wear a face mask on public transport.

The idea for the card – which will be possible to print out or display on a mobile phone – came after people with asthma said they were being criticised by fellow passengers for boarding without a mask.

One Londoner with asthma, Shona Muraldo-Parks, from Hackney, wears a home-made “I have asthma” badge after awkward encounters soon after the requirement to wear a face covering was introduced nationwide on Monday.

She said: “There was a couple on the bus and, as I walked past, I heard the man say to the woman: ‘See how people don’t have any respect.’

“Then on Tuesday I went to my mum’s and the bus driver signalled for me to put on a mask. I just said I have got asthma and he let me on. On the bus, everyone is very worried about everyone else and I did notice people looking at me.”

Ms Muraldo-Parks, on furlough from her job as a health and fitness supervisor at Swiss Cottage leisure centre, said her asthma was triggered by dust – and would be exacerbated by wearing a covering or bandana. She uses a preventative inhaler and carries an emergency one to use in the event of sudden attacks.

“I have spent many years learning how to control my asthma. To now have to go backwards a step [and wear a mask] seems ridiculous.”

She said TfL should provide badges similar to its “Baby on board” and “Please offer me a seat” badges. “People can be very cynical and cruel. It only takes one person to get upset and you end up having a big argument,” she said.

Sarah MacFadyen, head of Policy at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said: “Some people find that wearing a mask makes it harder for them to breathe. Since the new rules have been brought in, we have heard from people across the UK who have been publicly confronted and even refused travel by some travel operators.

“We also want to ask the general public to remember that if you see someone who isn’t wearing a face mask on public transport, don’t assume they are breaking the rules. Not all health conditions are visible.”

TfL said children under 11 and “people who have trouble breathing” are exempt from wearing a mask.

Staynton Brown, director of diversity at TfL, said: “Following new Government guidance, everyone must now wear a face covering while using on public transport unless they are exempt.

“To support customers and to make it easier for staff and the police to know who should and shouldn’t wear a face covering, we are currently working to introduce a new exemption card that customers will be able to download and carry with them or display on their mobile phone.

“This will provide reassurance to a number of different groups, including those with some conditions, who might have difficulties wearing face coverings.

“We’d like to remind customers to treat everyone on the transport network with respect and compassion, and to understand that some customers and staff will be unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons that may not be immediately obvious.”

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