An office-based Transport for London (TfL) employee has tested positive for coronavirus, the government body has confirmed.
In a statement released by TfL, the organisation said: “We are working closely with Public Health England and are following their advice after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.
“The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority, so we are taking all necessary precautions and a deep clean has taken place within the building used by the staff member.”
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It has since been confirmed that the employee works at TfL’s Palestra House office in Southwark.
Palestra House is where TfL monitors London’s roads and controls the Tube network, but the PA news agency understands that the worker with coronavirus has a non-operational role.
TfL did not reveal the exact role of the employee.
Coronavirus: What’s the risk of rail travel?
It is not yet known exactly how COVID-19 spreads from person to person, but the NHS is advising that similar viruses are spread in cough droplets when in close proximity. The NHS guidance on coronavirus defines “close contact” as being within 2 metres of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.
Dr Lara Gosce, from the Institute of Global Health, says her 2018 research showed people who used the Underground regularly were more likely to suffer flu-like symptoms.
Dr Gosce’s study says: “Comparing our results with influenza-like illnesses data collected by Public Health England in London boroughs, there’s a correlation between the use of public transport and the spread of influenza-like illnesses.
“Specifically, we show that passengers departing from boroughs with higher influenza-like illness rates have higher number of contacts when travelling on the underground. Compared to well-served boroughs where passengers reach their destination by one direct trip.”
The NHS are advising the public on how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.