What social distancing could mean for rush hour passengers on the tube

It highlights the huge dilemma the Government faces in deciding when to ease the lockdown, and comes as Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke of his concern that a “big bang” return to work could spark a second spike in cases. It could also add weight to calls for Londoners to wear face masks when using public transport to reduce the risk of spreading infection, though experts continue to debate their effectiveness. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has spoken about firms being asked to stagger start times to prevent overcrowding on trains. TfL and borough councils are also expected to introduce a temporary network of protected bike lanes and wider pavements to cope with an anticipated increase in people walking and cycling. Mr Khan said today that the return to work and school needed to be “phased” to prevent large numbers of passengers travelling at the same time. This will dictate how many people can be safely carried alongside extensive mitigating measures likere-timing journeys to spread demand out of peak times and managing stations differently. It comes as researchers at Imperial College today warned that Italy was at risk of a second spike in deaths if the easing of its lockdown, which began yesterday, resulted in 20 per cent more population mobility. It said enhanced community surveillance - including swab testing, contact tracing and the early isolation of infections – was of paramount importance to reduce the risk of a second spike in cases. Dr Seth Flaxman, one of the report’s authors, said: “Without effective community surveillance, even a partial return to pre-lockdown levels of mobility could lead to a resurgence in the epidemic, with deaths starting to increase once again in the months ahead.”