Coronavirus: London curfew 'inevitable' as pictures show packed Tube trains

Tube trains in London continued to be packed on Monday morning amid reports that a coronavirus curfew in the capital is “inevitable”.

Boris Johnson has threatened to introduce tougher measures to fight the spread of the virus if people do not act “responsibly” by following social distancing guidelines.

A total of 281 people have died in the UK after contracting COVID-19, figures released on Sunday revealed.

Parks across London were packed at the weekend and the Tube remained busy during rush hour on Monday morning.

Tube trains in London continued to be busy on Monday morning. (@duckpilotuk/Twitter)

The Times newspaper quoted a senior government source as saying a curfew in the city is “inevitable”.

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On Monday, health secretary Matt Hancock said people who have ignored government advice on social distancing have been “very selfish”.

On Sunday, the prime minister said people needed to act “responsibly” by practising social distancing.

Commuters struggle to get on an already packed Northern Line train at Colindale Station in north London on Monday. (@kubson84/Twitter)
A photo of a packed Tube train posted on Twitter by Labour MP Neil Coyle on Monday. (Neil Coyle/Twitter)

He said: “If we can't do that, then I'm afraid we're going to have to bring forward tougher measures."

In London, mayor Sadiq Khan has been criticised for reducing the Tube service, a move critics say means busier trains and the potential for further spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

On Monday morning, several Twitter users posted images of busy trains and platforms.

User @kubson84 tweeted images from the platform in Colindale, north London, where a number of commuters were attempting to board an already busy Northern Line train.

They tweeted: “No space in the carriage after 30 minutes waiting time for a train to arrive.”

Transport for London tweeted a reply, saying: “Thanks for your message. A 15-minute special service is operating due to operational restrictions. I’m sorry for the disruption to your journey.”

Another user, @duckpilotuk, tweeted a picture of a busy Piccadilly Line Tube carriage.

They wrote: “TFL has reduced the frequency of London Underground trains, which are now busier than they should be.

“Not much social distancing on the Piccadilly Line this morning. I am classed as a 'key worker' and rely on the Tube.”

The user, Michael, an airline pilot, told Yahoo News UK: “When I boarded the train at Heathrow this morning, the situation was good and passengers were clearly making an effort to spread out in line with social distancing advice.

Read more: PM’s 'relaxed style on coronavirus could cost lives'

“Then the train filled up quickly at subsequent stations. I don't think the reduction in frequency of trains has helped stop the spread of coronavirus as people aren't able to maintain a safe distance from each other.”


Labour MP Neil Coyle posted an image on Twitter he said was sent to him this morning by a constituent, showing people packed into a Tube at a platform.

A TfL spokesman said it encouraged people not to use the Tube network unless they are key workers.

A spokeswoman for the mayor of London said: “Londoners should not be travelling by any mode of transport unless it is absolutely necessary, and only critical workers should be using public transport.

“The number of journeys on the tube is down significantly compared to the same time last year, with an 87% reduction this weekend. But we need Londoners to stop travelling.

“TfL will continue to do everything it can to provide a safe service but like many organisations it is dealing with rising absence levels and needs Londoners’ co-operation in these challenging times.”

Read more: Mayor says 'Londoners will die' if they do not practise social distancing

At the weekend, pictures showed people at parks and beaches despite the government’s social distancing advice.

Thousands flocked to the Hove seafront in Sussex and parks across London, while Snowdonia National Park in Wales urged people to stay away after saying it had its “busiest ever visitor day in living memory” on Saturday.