Train services could be CANCELLED as up to one in five passengers are axing journeys over coronavirus fears


TRAIN services could be CANCELLED as up to one in five passengers are axing journeys over coronavirus fears.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said today rail services could be culled to avoid running “ghost trains” after confirmed cases with the deadly virus skyrocketed.

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Grant Shapps said train services would have to be cancelled

Mr Shapps told BBC Radio 4: “There’s no point running ghost trains anymore than running ghost planes.”

He said there had been a huge drop in numbers of passengers as people abandoned public transport and rail services would have to cancel some services.

“Railways have definitely seen a big drop off in the last week by about 18 – 20 per cent in the number of passengers. We are working with them closely.”

Millions of Brits have been told to work from home to stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus, and anyone with a cough or a fever have been directed to self isolate over fears of infecting others.

Some of the trains looking at cancellations are publicly owned and run services, and others are private providers.

He said: “We are working with them all to see what we need to do to sustain them.

“Some of that is about how many trains put on a line at any one time… (we need to) be flexible as a country to react to that.”

Britain’s death toll leapt from 21 to 35 today and included Nick Matthews, 59 — the youngest UK victim.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the elderly will be told to stay indoors for four months.

Ministers also warned they could be forced to ration products such as toilet roll and beans, if panic buying continues.

Major companies in London — including JPMorgan, Deloitte, Google and HSBC — have activated contingency plans for the pandemic such as staff working from back-up locations and from home.

Apple, Nike and Urban Outfitters are closing stores, with other retailers set to follow suit.

Mr Shapps is meeting with the train companies this week to discuss what services will have to go.

Those decisions will be made dependent on demand.

London tubes were almost empty

Social media has been littered with pictures of trains, normally full to the brim, eerily quiet.

The PM is expected to announce today that mass gatherings will be cancelled in order to stop the numbers of confirmed cases skyrocketing even further.

The aviation industry is in peril as well as people cancel flights and entire countries are put on lockdown.

British Airways chief exec Alex Cruz warned over the weekend that COVID-19 had caused a “crisis of global proportions” worse than the SARS outbreak and 9/11.

Staff were told the aviation giant would have to cut jobs as Europe’s airports predicted 187 million fewer passengers will fly in 2020.

Confirmed cases skyrocketed
A lone figure at Knightsbridge tube station in central London
Many people who are still getting public transport have armed themselves with protective masks

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