London Underground Packed on First Day of Lockdown

Londoners crowded into trains, buses, and subways on Tuesday, March 24, despite it being the first official day of lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, local media reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared a national emergency and prohibited leaving home except to shop for basic necessities, one form of basic exercise per day, medical needs, and traveling to or from work, if crucial. The lockdown is an effort to “protect the NHS” whose workers are essential to fighting COVID-19, Johnson said.

Some Underground stations were closed as of Saturday, with the more popular lines and stations still running “to support critical workers,” Transport for London said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged city residents to stop the use of nonessential public transport. “Ignoring these rules means more lives lost,” Khan said.

This video shows a cramped subway car on the Central line near Stratford on Tuesday afternoon. The United Kingdom reported 8,163 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 422 deaths as of March 24. Credit: Tomasz Michewicz via Storyful