A ticket office worker at London’s Victoria Station has died with coronavirus after being spat at while on duty.
Belly Mujinga, 47, was on the station concourse in March when a member of the public claiming to have Covid-19 spat and coughed at her and a colleague, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said.
Within days of the assault, both women fell ill with the virus.
Ms Mujinga, who had underlying respiratory problems, was admitted to Barnet Hospital.
She was soon put on a ventilator but died on April 5, her trade union, the TSSA, said.
Her husband Lusamba, 60, and their daughter Ingrid, 11, never got to say goodbye, according to the Mirror.
Ten people attended her funeral.
“My daughter Ingrid just does not understand what has happened, how we can never be together again” Mr Mujinga, a former warehouse worker told the newspaper.
“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.
British Transport Police said it has now launched an investigation into the incident.
It has not been confirmed that the spitting incident is directly linked to Ms Mujinga contracting the virus.
However, TSSA 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.
The union’s 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.”
Angie Doll, Managing Director, Southern Railway and Gatwick Express: “We are devastated that our dedicated colleague Belly has passed away and our deepest sympathies are with her family with whom we have been in touch through this very difficult time.
“Tragically, many people across the country have now been directly affected by Covid-19, including those in the rail industry who are doing the vital job of ensuring train services can continue.
“The safety of our customers and staff, who are key workers themselves, continues to be front of mind at all times and we follow the latest Government advice. We urge people only to travel if it is absolutely essential.”
A BTP spokesman said: “British Transport Police have now launched an investigation into a report of two members of rail staff being spat at while working at London Victoria station on 22nd March.
“One of the victims, a 47-year-old woman, very sadly died in hospital on April 5th.
Enquiries are ongoing, they added.