Coronavirus UK: How to stay safe on public transport as TfL worker tests positive

Coronavirus UK cases have caused alarm around the country, as people resort to panic buying goods such as toilet paper and canned goods due to a steady incline in daily infections. While the country is not yet as bad as some others, the government has advised increased vigilance to avoid a similar severe outbreak on British shores.

A TfL worker was amongst those who contracted COVID-19 this week, the organisation has confirmed.

TfL revealed one worker at their road and tube network office of Palestra House in Southwark tested positive for COVID-19, and according to the Press Association, they had a non-operational role.

In a statement, TfL said: “We are working closely with Public Health England and are following their advice after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

“The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority, so we are taking all necessary precautions and a deep clean has taken place within the building used by the staff member.”

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How to stay safe on public transport

The TfL worker who tested positive is one of more than 80 people who have fallen ill with COVID-19 in London.

One of the dangers with infections in the city is the London transport network, which keeps people close to one another for extended periods.

Buses and the tube, therefore, serve as viable avenues for COVID-19 infections, and there are ways to mitigate the risk to travellers.

Buses

Buses pose less of an infection risk than the tube, although there is little research into how easily viruses spread on them.

They are often less crowded and better ventilated, meaning COVID-19 potentially has less time suspended in the air, where it can easily infect people.

Those who want to avoid bus-borne coronavirus should sit in quiet areas of the vehicle, stay vigilant of touching handrails, and wash or disinfect their hands regularly.

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Trains

The London underground estimates it serves roughly 1.2 billion people per year.

As such, the risk of potential infection is potentially higher than any other mode of transport.

The most effective way to prevent contracting COVID-19 on the tube is by regularly washing or disinfecting hands, as handrails and armrests are clear avenues for infection.

While public transport remains a potential path for COVID-19, the government is yet to advise against using it.

Network Rail said it would continue regular carriage cleaning, with provisions for “specialist” train and station cleans if necessary.

So far, officials have suggested travelling during off-peak hours, although experts have downplayed the risk of transmission.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) special adviser for coronavirus told the BBC were not the “most important source of transmission”.

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