By Hasan Esen
LONDON (AA) – London’s underground rail network will be partially closed as part of measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus, Transport for London said Thursday.
Starting today and until further notice, up to 40 tube stations will be closed, it announced.
The Waterloo & City line will be completely shut. All lines will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays, while only staff with critical duties such as health officials will be able to use buses.
Bus, train and overground services will also be partially closed.
The decision came after the government banned all non-compulsory travel.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said transport lines should not be used "unless absolutely necessary."
In a story based on government sources, Sky News reported that the government is considering closing most shops in the capital by the weekend.
The report said pharmacies and supermarkets will remain open under supervision but added that no decision has formally been taken.
According to National Health Service (NHS) data, COVID-19 has claimed 33 more lives in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 104. Confirmed cases have increased by 676 to a total of 2,526.
The government was following a controlled infection strategy with the goal of collective immunity but made some changes in the policy following criticism.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised the public to refrain from unnecessary travel and social contact.
The government also decided to close schools until further notice.
Since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus has claimed more than 7,870 lives globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
More than 194,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in at least 164 countries and territories, with Europe as its epicenter, according to the WHO.
Despite the rising number of cases, most people who get infected suffer mild symptoms and recover.
*Writing by Firdevs Bulut