Repeatedly covering your hands in sanitiser, wrapping your scarf around your face, or avoiding travelling altogether – how are you protecting yourself from coronavirus on your Tube journey?

With the number of cases going up this week to 61 in the capital (as of 9am on March 9) it seems like commuters are taking the virus much more seriously.

While most people haven’t yet resorted to wearing masks and gloves, people are certainly aware of the risks and the importance of washing their hands.

Some have even come up with a new idea for a ‘sport’ called tube surfing – where you stand with your legs apart to avoiding having to touch any of the railings or handlebars.

Olly and Ollie from SHED Coffee at Clapham South station say its become a new phenomenon on their commute, and even BBC broadcasters are in on the act.

Last week Radio 4 presenter Tom Sutcliffe tweeted: “New urban sport. Tube surfing. Completing one’s journey on the Underground without touching an armrest, pole or escalator handrail.” 

The guys at Clapham South see it as a harmless bit of fun, but say there have seen a “massive reduction” in the number of people passing through the station this week.

Because their shop is within the station, they can’t really avoid using the Tube to get into work.

“I’m conscious of it. I’m not going on the Tube if possible, I worry about the virus spreading around,” says Olly.

But then he has a rethink: “Mind you, I go on the Tube all year round and I’m not catching a cold every time someone sneezes,” he muses.

Ollie says he has been wrapping his scarf around his face and avoiding touching anything in the carriages.

Wandsworth Times:

Further up the line at Clapham North, Mattia Fornacciari says he has noticed more empty seats on the tube into work this week. 

 

“Usually you can’t find any seats, but this morning there were plenty of seats,” he said.

“There aren’t as many people travelling on the Underground, but I can’t change my trip because I live in Wembley Central and can’t afford an Uber.

Mattia works at Bean about Town coffee, opposite Clapham North Station.

“I’m a bit worried obviously, but there’s no point in staying scared about it. I’m trying my best in being careful about it, I’m always washing hands and not touching my eyes,” he adds.

Another woman says her employer has been “very flexible” about people wanting to work from home, and that she is going to try avoiding the Tube in the future if she can help it.

But how worried should we really be? According to Public Health England and Transport for London there aren’t any specific dangers using the Tube.

A TfL spokesperson said: “Public Health England has stated that there is no specific concern about public transport and is urging everyone to regularly wash their hands throughout the day, before eating and when arriving to work or home.

“As the transport network is used by millions to travel to and from work we would encourage Londoners to go about their business as usual and to follow Public Health England’s advice on hand washing.”