U.K. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned commuters to avoid public transport as people in England who can’t work from home were encouraged to return to their workplaces from Wednesday.
Shapps told media ,”We’re asking people to be very sensible and not flood back to public transport. “There will not be enough space. Only 1 in 10 people will be able to travel without overcrowding and is very important that we enable enough space on public transport for key workers, people who have no other option.”
However, pictures showed crowded tube trains and buses in London and some London Underground workers reported social distancing wasn’t always possible during peak commuting times. The Department of Transport on Tuesday updated its coronavirus guidelines, recommending people “should avoid using public transport wherever possible.” However, face coverings are recommended rather than compulsory, unlike in many other countries.
Earlier this week, the story of London ticket collector Belly Mujinga, who died from COVID-19 after being spat at by a man who said he was infected with the coronavirus, prompted concern among transport workers about the lack of personal protective equipment. Transport union TSSA said they were “shocked and devastated” at the loss.
“Rather than talking about easing the lockdown, the government must first ensure the right precautions and protections have been taken so more lives are not lost,” the union said.