Coronavirus: Bus driver thinks he has Covid-19 but tells James O'Brien he can't self-isolate

18 March 2020, 13:45

By Seán Hickey

A TfL worker explained to James O'Brien that he cannot afford to self-isolate even though he believes to have coronavirus.

James O'Brien was speaking to Cal, a driver for TfL who was explaining that the government's statutory £94 a-week sick pay will not help him should he self isolate.

"I know I'm giving something to somebody" the bus driver told James. Cal was explaining that he has two children to look after and rent to pay and the government's coronavirus pay just won't make ends meet.

"Voluntary self-isolation is missing people like you" James claimed. He didn't believe there was enough information for low and medium pay worker for how to act through coronavirus and told Cal that "it's something that needs to be sorted soon".

"I just can't afford it" Cal said. He shared with James that within TfL drivers aren't told to self-isolate, it is only recommended action to take. The driver told James that he knows he should do so, he just simply cannot financially support himself.

The bus driver said he comes in contact with over 400 people per day
The bus driver said he comes in contact with over 400 people per day. Picture: PA

Cal told James that he's taken as many precautions as possible, even taking his children out of school in case he does have coronavirus and spreads it to them.

James commended the driver and understood his position. James also took the time to ask those who would criticise Cal to think of what they would do in his position.

"It'd be easier to send him a bunch of money so he can self isolate" James said, acknowledging the struggle the TfL worker finds himself in.

James spoke of "right-wing" arguments and took a moment to notice the irony he saw in them. In disaster situation in the UK, he saw it funny that what might be an acceptable criticism of a refugee in times gone by, it's difficult to have the same criticism of Brits who are now stuck in a difficult position.

"Funny how hollow and pathetic that rhetoric is when the problem is being faced by us" James pointed out.