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19 Mar 2020 | 11:08 AM UTC

UK: Government to partially suspend public transportation in London due to COVID-19 March 19 /update 5

Government to partially suspend public transportation in London due to COVID-19 March 19; confirm travel itineraries

health
transportation
GBR

Event

Transport for London (TfL) announced the partial shutdown of London's public transportation network starting on Thursday, March 19, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. There will be no Night Underground (Tube) or Night Overground service from Thursday, and Waterloo and City line service will be suspended starting Friday, March 20. From Monday, March 23, all London Underground, London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail, and London Trams will operate on a reduced service. Buses will operate on a Saturday timetable starting on Monday, but night services will continue.

As of Thursday, nine stations have been closed and approximately 30 additional stations are expected to close over the coming days. London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a statement on Thursday strongly advising London residents against all nonessential travel.

To date, there have been over 2500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with London accounting for more than 900 of these cases. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.