A railway ticket office worker has died of coronavirus after being spat at by a passenger while on duty.
Belly Mujinga, 47, was on the concourse of Victoria station in London in March when a man allegedly claiming to have Covid-19 coughed at her and a colleague.
Within days of the assault, both women fell ill with the disease.
Ms Mujinga, who had underlying respiratory problems, was admitted to Barnet Hospital and put on a ventilator but died on April 5. Only ten people attended her funeral.
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Her husband Lusamba told the Mirror his daughter ‘just does not understand what has happened, how we can never be together again’.
He added: ‘It’s terrible to lose the person you love so quickly. We are sure she got the virus from the man who spat on her, and it could have been so easily avoided.’
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Ms Mujinga was a member of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) union, which has reported the incident to the Railways Inspectorate, the safety arm of the Office for Road and Rail (ORR), for investigation and is taking legal advice on the situation.
General Secretary Manuel Cortes said: ‘We are shocked and devastated at Belly’s death. She is one of far too many frontline workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.’
He called for the £60,000 compensation paid to the relatives of health and care workers who die as a result of the virus to be extended to all frontline workers – including transport staff.
Mr Cortes continued: ‘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 she wasn’t stood down from frontline duties early on in this pandemic.
‘Rather than talking about the easing the lockdown, the government must first ensure that the right precautions and protections have been taken so that more lives are not lost.
‘Anyone who is vulnerable should remain at home and home working should be the default wherever possible.
‘Our rail industry needs to have a very serious look at what tasks are deemed “essential” and must put protections in place for all our members and our passengers.’
Angie Doll, Managing Director of Southern Railway and Gatwick Express said they were ‘devastated’ by the death, and have launched an investigation.
The British Transport Police is also looking into the alleged assault claims.
Anyone with information is asked to text 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 359 of 11/05/20.
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