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British railway worker dies of COVID-19 after man coughs, spits on her

British railway worker dies of COVID-19 after man coughs, spits on her
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A British railway worker has died from COVID-19 after a man spit and coughed on her, according to the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA).

In early April, ticket office worker Belly Mujinga, 47, was rushed to the hospital 11 days after the man assaulted her and another colleague, TSSA said in a statement Tuesday, CNN reported.

Said she died on April 5, two weeks "after she was assaulted at Victoria station," TSSA said.

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Mujinga reportedly had underlying respiratory conditions making her more vulnerable to the virus but was not offered proper protections by her employer, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

In a statement, TSSA said, "Belly and her colleague begged to be let to work from inside the building with a protective barrier between them and the public for the rest of that day."

Mujinga and her coworker both completed their shift at Victoria station in central London after the assault on March 22 without any personal protective equipment. Her coworker also fell ill with the virus.

TSSA alleged that GTR knew about Mujinga's preexisting conditions, and only took her claims seriously after her doctor called the rail company on March 25.

"As a vulnerable person in the 'at risk' category and her condition known to her employer, there are questions about why GTR didn't stand her down from front line duties early on in this pandemic," said Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary. "There are serious questions about her death. It wasn't inevitable."

GTR said it takes the allegations "extremely seriously" and is investigating the incident, CNN reported.

The union also reported Mujinga's case to the Railways Inspectorate, in charge of safety for the Office for Road and Rail, which is reportedly investigating the incident, CNN added.

TSSA said there needs to be more protection guidance for workers that have face-to-face interactions with the public, calling for the government to offer additional measures to aid front line workers during the pandemic.