LONDON (VINnews) — Belly Mujinga, a 47-year-old railway ticket office worker, died of coronavirus just two weeks after a man who said he was infected spat and coughed on her and on a colleague at Victoria Station, London, according to a Daily Mail report. Both women fell sick with the virus and Mujinga, who suffered from respiratory problems ,was admitted to Barnet hospital on April 2nd and placed on a ventilator. She died on April 5th. Her colleague recovered without requiring hospitalization.
Mujinga was survived by her husband and 11-year-old daughter.
More than a month later British Transport Police (BTP) have launched an investigation in an attempt to locate the man who spat on her. A spokesman said that the incident which occured on March 22nd was not reported at the time.
Ten people were able to attend the mother’s funeral, but friends and family paid tribute to her online, with one person writing: ‘Rest in peace, Aunty Belly Mujinga that we used to call “Mama I Baby”‘
Colleague Akin Macaulay wrote: ‘Belly, my colleague and my birthday mate, may your soul rest in peace and may the Lord comfort your husband and daughter and the extended family at this time and uphold them all.’
Mr. Macaulay shared a fundraising page which had raised £1,500 to support Ms Mujinga’s family.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association union 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.
TSSA 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.
‘The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, recently announced that £60,000 would be paid to the survivors of health and care workers who die as a result of the pandemic.
‘Our view is that this compensation should be extended to the families of all frontline workers who perish trying to keep our country and vital services going.
‘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.’
Yesterday the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) advised its members not to work if they felt unsafe, amid fears over a surge in passengers on the railways and Tubes.
Bus and coach drivers, particularly men, were found to have a higher likelihood of death from Covid-19 compared to people with ‘professional’ jobs.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) advised its members not to work if they felt unsafe.
It said the Government was shifting away from the stay at home message, which would unleash a surge in passengers breaching social- distancing measures with ‘potentially lethal consequences’ for staff and the public.