Sadiq Khan warns Londoners to stay at home and avert Tube chaos

City's mayor asks for greater compliance with restrictions after videos emerge of teeming trains

London Underground packed despite national lockdown

London Underground packed despite national lockdown
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London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, on Sunday called on people to stay at home after the extent of overcrowding on the UK capital's train, Tube and bus networks was revealed.

Videos emerged of London Underground carriages and platforms thronged with commuters not keeping distance, several of whom were ignoring the requirement to wear face masks.

"We are in lockdown and it is meant to be only essential workers travelling to work," Roman Catholic priest Father Grant Ciccone told The National  on Friday.

"This enclosed space is a Petri dish where the new variant can spread from person to person.”

Fr Ciccone was critical of the government and Transport for London, calling on them to enforce travel restrictions.

London Underground blamed the chaotic scenes on staff shortages but the root of the problem is more complex.

This was made clear to Mr Khan when he followed up his initial tweet with another, stressing that the safest place for everyone was at home.

He was reminded by one aggrieved tweeter, Adam, that for many staying at home meant unpaid bills and possible eviction.

The situation illustrates the problem when public health aims are not aligned with fiscal policy.

Throughout the pandemic the government has been criticised for failing to provide the necessary financial support to see Britons through the pandemic, despite spending nearly £300 billion ($407bn) in 2020 to fight the virus and its wider economic effects.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent England into its third lockdown in less than 10 months at Christmas but compliance, while better than for lockdown 2 in November, has yet to match that of the first lockdown in spring.

Earlier on Sunday, UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab suggested that the government could ease the restrictions in March, as the UK mass vaccination programme builds up.


London's teeming tubes