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6 Apr, 2020 14:59

At least 10 London transport workers die of Covid-19 as UK death toll surges past 5,000

At least 10 London transport workers die of Covid-19 as UK death toll surges past 5,000

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that Covid-19 has claimed the lives of ten public transport workers as unions say staff need more protections. Meanwhile, the UK’s death toll from the virus surpassed the 5,000 milestone.

The London transport worker death toll includes eight bus drivers, one Transport for London (TfL) worker and one employee of the London Underground. British health officials announced 439 new fatalities on Monday afternoon, bringing the country’s total death toll from the virus to 5,373.

“They are in my thoughts and prayers and my condolences to their families,” Khan said Monday, adding that almost 90 percent of London's buses and 55 percent of Tube trains are still running. "It reminds us actually, one of the heroic frontline workers are transport workers,” he continued.

The mayor renewed his plea for people to stay home unless they “really really have to” come out and to avoid using public transport at rush hour in order to allow frontline medical staff and essential workers to travel safely.  

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At present, a record number of both TfL and London Underground staff are off work because they are infected or are self-isolating as a precautionary measure, as family members have been infected.

"We've got 25,000 bus drivers, more than 25,000 working for Transport for London doing their best to keep public transport running for those essential key workers who need public transport to get from home to work and back home again,” Khan said while claiming that “limited facilities given by the government,” were increasing the pressure on transport workers. 

“We are lobbying the government regularly, almost on a daily basis, for additional personal protective equipment and additional testing as well,” Khan continued, adding that transport personnel were following "hospital-standard anti-viral disinfectant" protocols.

Meanwhile, train drivers’ union chief for London Finn Brennan has reiterated calls for transport workers to be given masks to protect them from infection.

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