London

Coronavirus: London bus driver deaths to be reviewed

Bus driver with face mask Image copyright AFP
Image caption Part of the review will examine the measures introduced to protect bus drivers

An independent review is to look at coronavirus infections and deaths among the capital's bus workers, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

Thirty-three London bus workers have died after contracting Covid-19, including 29 drivers.

Part of the study will examine the measures introduced to shield drivers such as how the vehicles are cleaned.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said the review will "ensure we are taking every possible measure to protect our heroic staff".

As part of the exercise University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity will examine TfL's response during the pandemic.

Last month, people were stopped from boarding at the front of buses, while protective screens were also installed around drivers as part of a series of measures.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Commuters using public transport in London have been advised to wear face coverings

Transport bosses said the work will take place "within a matter of weeks" so they can "quickly undertake any improvements to current measures as necessary".

The second part of the review, which has not yet been commissioned, will explore the differences in infection and death rates between frontline transport workers and London's population in general.

Figures previously released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested bus drivers in the UK were among workers with higher rates of death from Covid-19 than other staff.

Male bus and coach drivers were found to have a rate of 26.4 deaths per 100,000 compared to sales and retail assistants at a rate of 19.8.

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Media captionThe mother of a London bus driver who died after contracting coronavirus previously said transport workers were being put at risk

Lilli Matson, TfL's chief safety, health and environment officer, said the review will allow them to "better understand the pattern of deaths and sickness caused by the coronavirus and do all that we can to limit its impact".

Prof Sir Michael Marmot, the director of UCL Institute of Health Equity, said it was "absolutely critical to understand the high level of coronavirus infection and deaths in London's bus drivers".

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