London 'nowhere near' easing lockdown as 14 transport workers die from coronavirus

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
A woman wearing a face mask waits to board an underground train on the Central Line at Bank station in London. (AP)

London is set to continue lockdown restrictions following the three-week review after 14 transport workers died after contracting coronavirus, the city’s mayor has suggested.

Sadiq Khan said the capital is “nowhere near” being able to lift the restrictions, which came into force just over two weeks ago.

Khan revealed that nine bus drivers, three Transport for London (TfL) workers, an Underground worker and a worker for one of TfL’s suppliers had all lost their lives as a result of COVID-19.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said London was not ready to lift lockdown restrictions. (PA)

Asked about the possibility of lifting restrictions, the mayor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "When the prime minister announced the lockdown just over two and a half weeks ago he said he would review it in three weeks' time, which is this Monday.

"I think we're nowhere near lifting the lockdown. I speak to experts regularly – in fact, after this [interview] I'll have another call with Public Health England and NHS London experts.

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"We think the peak – which is the worst part of the virus – is still probably a week and a half away.”

Earlier, speaking to BBC Breakfast, Khan said his "thoughts and prayers" were with the 14 transport workers who lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Khan highlighted measures introduced to protect transport workers, including “advanced cleaning regimes” and protective glass between bus drivers and passengers.

His comments come as a new system of boarding buses is being trialled in the capital to further reduce contact with drivers.

Commuters wear face protection masks on the Central Line in London. (Getty)
A man wearing a face mask waits to board an underground train on the Central Line at Bank station in London. (AP)

TfL announced it will launch a pilot scheme that will see passengers using only the middle door to board on several routes operated by bus firm Abellio out of its depot in Walworth, south-east London, including two that serve hospitals.

Passengers using London buses normally board using the front door and leave using the middle door, to smooth the flow of people.

Bus use in London has fallen by around 85% due to the pandemic.

TfL director of bus operations Claire Mann said: "London's hard-working transport workers are making a heroic effort at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic, and it is only right we consider everything we can to protect them.”

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