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UK News Coronavirus: Five London bus workers die from Covid-19, union confirms

20:00  04 april  2020
20:00  04 april  2020 Source:   inews.co.uk

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  Coronavirus: Five London bus workers die from Covid-19, union confirms © Provided by The i

Five London bus workers have died from coronavirus, a trade union has announced.

Unite, which represents workers from Transport for London (TfL), described the losses as a “terrible tragedy” and said it was doing everything in its power to ensure the safety of bus drivers.

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Regional secretary Peter Kavanagh said: “Unite will assist the families of our members in every possible way during this terrible time.

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“Unite has been working continuously with Transport for London (TfL) and the operators to ensure the safety of drivers and others in the industry who are performing a heroic job in getting NHS and care workers to their places of work.

  Coronavirus: Five London bus workers die from Covid-19, union confirms © Provided by The i

Safety measures introduced

A sign informs travellers that they must remain two metres apart at a bus stop (Getty)

“These measures include deep cleaning of buses, additional cleaning of touch points, the sealing of screens around the driver, the provision of hand sanitiser for all and placing the passenger seating closest to the driver out of bounds.

Kavanagh confirmed that he had been in direct contact with the Mayor of London "who shares our view that bus drivers must be fully protected."

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“My officers are holding daily meetings with TfL, exploring further safety improvements and we are absolutely committed to doing everything in our power to make the driving of buses safe during this unprecedented crisis.

“We are also calling on the government to make provisions for transport workers in terms of personal protective equipment.”

Bus services across the UK have continued to run despite demand for bus travel having fallen by about 90 per cent due to the virus.

Bus bailout announced

Passengers wearing facemasks onboard a London bus. (Getty)

The Department for Transport announced on Friday that bus companies in England will receive £167 million in new government funding to help them cope with the loss of revenue.

Operators will be required to maintain up to 50 per cent of normal service levels and allow adequate social distancing space between passengers under the conditions of the new funding.

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Anthony Smith, chief executive of passenger watchdogs' Transport Focus and London TravelWatch, said: “Around half of bus passengers tell us that the bus is the only real means of transport available to them.

"So it is right that the government has recognised the exceptional circumstances posed by coronavirus.”

Additional reporting from the Press Association

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