Some commuters in London have either not gotten the COVID-19 physical distancing memo or they have disregarded it, as images of jam-packed tube stations and trains have surfaced on the internet.
In a statement issued on Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all schools are officially closed.
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He also explained a new policy in terms of people venturing outside — which they are still encouraged to do — who must now maintain a distance of two metres apart.
“You have to stay two metres apart; you have to follow the social distancing advice,” Johnson explained.
In a separate statement issued on March 20, the prime minister also encouraged the public to avoid pubs, bars, restaurants, and clubs and work from home if it is possible.
“You may think you are invincible, but there is no guarantee you will get mild symptoms, and you can still be a carrier of the disease and pass it on to others. So that’s why, as far as possible, we want you to stay at home, that’s how we can protect our NHS and save lives.”
Still, London’s underground system has yet to be suspended, and many people are still climbing aboard in very close proximity to others.
Many Twitter users have expressed their frustration, some even tagging the prime minister directly and urging him to take action.
This was my commute to work in London this morning @BorisJohnson. This is what you get on London underground when you reduce the service but people still have to go to work. There was a lot of coughing too.
— Lord Riley (@DRileyamusing) March 20, 2020
Dear @BorisJohnson @SadiqKhan – plenty of non critical workers on my tube – as a teacher on my way to work this is terrifying – people aren’t getting the message #tfl #london #ukcoronavirus @piersmorgan pic.twitter.com/DBoAHniFQq
— Peter Fellows (@mrpeterfellows) March 23, 2020
A tale of two cities: London’s Tube, Stockholm’s underground. Both photos taken this morning. #closethetube @SadiqKhan @RoryStewartUK @mrjamesob @johnashton4pcc @GabrielScally pic.twitter.com/kXIkQLeGVP
— Jaki McCarrick (@jakimccarrick) March 18, 2020
Tube in London this morning – it’s like there’s no pandemic. I’m sure not everyone here is a key worker. Companies want their staff to come in and staff obviously don’t want to lose their jobs or money. pic.twitter.com/1Nr5lbdOmc
— leanahosea (@leanahosea) March 19, 2020
Social distancing? What social distancing…
— 🍹⚽💛 Sassy_Blonde45 💛⚽🍹 (@Lady44Sassy) March 23, 2020
A tube in London today.
Quite simply a recipe for disaster. I actually can’t quite believe how stupid this behaviour is….. pic.twitter.com/IheWcXcFD1
— Dom Mcloughlin # Pinned tweet candle is for hope🔥 (@DominicMc999) March 23, 2020
In times like these, it is challenging to plan the best course of action, particularly for workers who are still going in who rely on public transit to get them there.
As much as possible, it is essential that those who can work from home, do.
Physical distancing is a necessary action to hinder the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and we all must do our part to practice precautionary and preventative measures.