Unions warn of increased risks in reducing social distancing

Unions warn of increased risks in reducing social distancing

22 June 2020

RMT Press Office:

Transport unions warn of increased risks in reducing social distancing on public transport

In a joint statement ASLEF, RMT and TSSA have warned of the “increased risks” of reducing social distancing on public transport at the current time.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan, RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch and TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said,

“The government’s own advisors have said that reducing social distancing to one meter will significantly increase the chance of infection by up to 30 times whilst the chances of Covid – 19 spreading are increased in confined spaces such as train carriages and stations.

"It is also the case that the threat of infection from the virus has not changed significantly whilst at the same time we are already seeing increases in rail and tube use which may further rise after 4th July.

"Policing two meter social distancing on public transport is already challenging and reducing it to one meter will make it almost impossible. In these circumstances diluting social distancing on public transport could increase risks so we cannot support a change to the social distancing measurement at the current time.

"We wish to see a safe and sustainable increase in public transport as soon as possible but not at the expense of worker and passenger safety.”


Notes for editors
Last month the governments chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told the  Health Select Committee that “The risk at one metre is about 10 to 30 times higher than the risk at two metres, so social distancing is an important part of this.”https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/coronavirus-risk-up-to-30-times-higher-if-twometre-distancing-rule-dropped-vallance-warns
Jonathan Van-Tam, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, previously said the virus appears to spread less easily outdoors because of the ventilation factor. At the end of April, he told the daily Downing Street briefing that “there is a definite truism across all of the science literature that ventilation is a most critical part of reducing transmission from respiratory viruses”.https://inews.co.uk/news/coronavirus-catch-outside-indoors-why-get-covid-19-explained-426628

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Tagged with: Covid-19, Social Distancing, Transport, Rail,