London Underground Station closes as 300 TfL staff are isolating after ‘Ping-demic’ chaos

By Jacob Phillips, local democracy reporter

A London underground station has been forced to close due to 300 staff being ‘pinged’ by the NHS app and forced to self-isolate.

The transport chaos seen over the weekend has already been dubbed ‘The Ping-demic’ and could continue to wreak havoc across London’s transport network as more people return to the office.

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that Pimlico Station on the Victoria line has closed due to the temporary unavailability of staff.

The closure comes after Tube staff on three lines were contacted by NHS track and trace over the weekend. If vital control room staff have to isolate the Victoria line could be thrown into chaos.

The Metropolitan line was forced to shut for two days from July 17 after control room workers received isolation alerts – or ‘pings’ – via the NHS app but reopened yesterday.

The Piccadilly and District lines were also affected but were able to reopen.

Transport unions have warned of “dire consequences” in the coming days as staff are contacted through the app.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union general secretary Mick Lynch previously said there would be “a surge in workers pinged with a self-isolation instruction” after England’s Covid-19 restrictions are eased today.

A TfL spokesperson said the current rules on self-isolation “led to vital control room staff being unable to come to work, causing disruption on some Tube lines”.

“The government has indicated that we could be part of a trial whereby daily tests would replace the need for self-isolation,” he added.

“We are still waiting for formal notification from them that we are part of this trial so that we can brief our trade unions and put this into effect.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said face coverings must be worn on London’s transport network after the national restrictions are eased.



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