Travellers wear protective face masks as they wait on the concourse at London Victoria train station in central London on March 3, 2020.
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images
A railway ticket officer in London has died with COVID-19 days after a member of the public who said he had the coronavirus spat at her.
Belly Mujinga was on the concourse at Victoria station in London in March when a member of the public approached her and coughed and spat at her, claiming he had the coronavirus.
Mujinga, who had underlying respiratory problems, died less than two weeks later.
The British Transport Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
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A railway ticket officer in London has died with COVID-19 after a member of the public who said he had coronavirus spat and coughed at her.
Belly Mujinga, 47, was on the concourse with a colleague during her shift at Victoria station in central London on March 22 when a member of the public approached them.
The man coughed and spat at both of them, and said he had the coronavirus, according to her trade union the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA).
The TSSA say that Belly and her colleague “begged to be let to work from inside the building with a protective barrier between them and the public” but were told to remain outside.
Within days, both women fell ill with the virus.
Mujinga had underlying respiratory problems and her condition grew worse until she was admitted to hospital and placed on a ventilator, but she died on April 5.
The police have launched an investigation into the TSSA’s report.
“British Transport Police have now launched an investigation into a report of two members of rail staff being spat at while working at London Victoria station on 22nd March,” it said in a statement.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, said the government should extend the compensation scheme for the families of NHS workers who die with coronavirus to all frontline workers.
“We are shocked and devastated at Belly’s death,” he said in a statement.
“She is one of far too many front-line workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.
“The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock recently announced that £60,000 would be paid to the survivors of health and care workers who die as a result of the pandemic.
“Our view is that this compensation should be extended to the families of all front-line workers who perish trying to keep our country and vital services going.
“Sadly, Belly’s is just one of many family tragedies where children have had their parents taken away from them. However, there are serious questions about her death, it wasn’t inevitable.
As a vulnerable person in the ‘at risk’ category and her condition known to her employer, there are questions about why GTR didn’t stand her down from front line duties early on in this pandemic.
“The assault she suffered at work was scary and we do not think the company treated it seriously enough.”
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