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Covid-19: experts question the evidence behind closing London Underground and city metros during the pandemic

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1154 (Published 20 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1154

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Re: Covid-19: experts question the evidence behind closing London Underground and city metros during the pandemic

Dear Editor

Experts raising the logic of shutting down travel via tube should remember that nearly 80% of asymptomatic people travelling via public transport systems pose a high risk of transmission of the virus. Since there is uncertainty about the estimation of infected people and carriers it is always advisable to maintain social distancing of at least 2 meters, which is practically impossible in public transport systems.

In a pandemic of such a stature with rapid transmission we should not wait for any evidence but rather act on our self conscious logic of distancing from infected individuals. If we take the example of populous countries such as India, it will be difficult to control once the infections spread in the community. Thus, the current measures of lock down seem to be the only rational measure in preventing transmission during travel in which large numbers of migrants keep moving from one place to another and then to their homes, bringing the threat of spreading the disease to large geographical areas. We recommend such lock downs, thereby prohibiting exposure to the public at large.

Competing interests: No competing interests

24 March 2020
Mongjam Meghachandra Singh
Director-Professor, Assistant Professor
Dr. Reeta Devi
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi (India); School of Health Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi (India); and School of Health Sciences, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi