people wearing masks on public transport

Should this protection be a requirement?

There has been a debate on whether trying to travel with public transport workers should have PPE. This is after a frightening spitting incident that took place on Mile End underground station in East London. A man who contains the disease demanded the gates be release for him even though he did not have a ticket. When he was denied entry on the train, he became violent and spat on the face of another female customer. The female customer was unable to get an Antigen test near me and would later die from Covid-19. Unfortunately, the man was never found during that incident even though police conducted a full search of the area. This raises fears that he might do the same thing to other people in the future.

In the last two months, there have been 14  deaths among transport workers that can be attributed to Covid-19. This is one of the reasons why transport, rail, and maritime union workers are demanding protective equipment for going to work.

Types of Covers


The government has instructed only essential workers and those taking care of patients to use this kind of mask. It is the most effective against the condition because it has filters and perfectly fits your face. However, they are expensive and are not readily available due to growing global demand.


Unions advise Public transport workers to wear surgical. This is because they are easily available and can be reused more than two times. However, scientists warn against using this cover more than once. This is because it may end up infecting you if there is a pathogen on them. It works by protecting the wearer from inhaling aerosols from an infected person. In addition, they also protect from cough droplets such as saliva or sneezing as happened in the train station case. It is important to note that they are 50% effective against the disease. However, if both parties are also wearing surgical, its effectiveness increases to 70%. One major problem with this is that it does not eliminate air-leakage around the edges.

Non-medical materials

Tailors make face coverings using non-medical materials such as cotton. It is the least effective PPE in the market. However, it is better than nothing. To decide on the best cloth mask, consider whether you can breathe freely. In addition, there must be some manageable resistance to your breathing. This way, you will be able to tell if it is effective or not. Unions are also advising transport workers to wear non-medical materials if:

  • You find it difficult to distance yourself from commuters
  • if the government directs you to wear it

Transport workers such as drivers can also wear disposable gloves. In addition, if they need to clean high-touch surfaces that may increase your risk of getting the virus, you will need to wear gloves and immediately get Antigen Test near me or TTR.