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US judge throws out Biden mask mandate for planes and trains


A federal judge in Florida has struck down the Biden administration's mask mandate for airplanes and other forms of public transit, calling it unlawful.


US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle said the national public health agency had exceeded its legal powers in issuing the mandate.


The US transit authority said it would now no longer enforce mask wearing.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just last week extended the mandate until 3 May.


Judge Mizelle is based in Florida, but federal judges can issue rulings that block nationwide government policies.

Her order on Monday effectively removes the masking requirement in all airports, trains, taxis and transit hubs.


White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the decision "disappointing" and noted that the CDC still recommends travellers cover their mouths and noses.

The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment to Monday's ruling.

Last week US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the mandate had been extended into May because of rising Covid-19 cases.

The lawsuit was first brought in July 2021 by the conservative group Health Freedom Defense Fund (HFDF) and two Florida residents who said wearing masks increased their anxiety and panic attacks.

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