Wednesday 4 March 2020 12:13 pm

UK coronavirus: Brits don face masks (and Tesco bags) on public transport

British commuters are taking the UK coronavirus threat seriously, it appears, donning heavy duty face masks – and Tesco bags – on Tube trains and buses.

A man on a London Underground train appeared to decide to keep himself safe on his commute to work by donning a serious-looking gas mask, along with thick rubber gloves to hold his morning paper.

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Meanwhile, other passengers were caught less prepared by the Covid-19 outbreak. A Circle Line commuter was spotted with a Tesco bag on his head instead of a face mask, and thick black gloves. It was either an attempt to protect himself from the coronavirus or to protect other passengers from him, perhaps we’ll never know which.

Another eagle-eyed commuter spotted a woman on a bus who opted to strap a transparent bin to her head, giving her a full range of vision while still protecting her on her morning commute. Crafty.

Another woman was snapped on a Tube train at Bank station with a gas mask on as Twitter reacted in typical style to people taking mitigating measures against the spread of Covid-19.

“F*ck me, it’s not World War 3,” one Twitter user said.

Idris Ahmed sounded like the prevalence of Tube commuters wearing masks had persuaded him to stock up on some.

“This week the #tube has been unusually empty; no angry ppl pushing & shoving, gridlock & even a seat,” he said. “So this morning a bloke walks on with full mask & lab goggles. Someone must be trying to tell me something.”

Meanwhile, another responded to the viral gas mask picture going viral by saying: “That episode of @bbcdoctorwho haunted me as a child.”

“This guy on the tube is wearing a mask over his face and has his hands all over the communal holding poles,” Mitzi White wrote. “Men love sending mixed signals.”

According to Twitter, some people caught out by the face mask shortage amid the coronavirus outbreak have resorted to turning their clothes into mask material.

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“On you tube I watched this woman make a face mask with her bra for the coronavirus so I decided I was going make some with my old bras,” Susan Spano said.

Public Health England have recommended people do not use face masks in a bid to protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. 

The health body has said there is “very little evidence” the face masks can protect against Covid-19. And the UK’s advertising watchdog banned a string of face mask adverts today, calling them “misleading and irresponsible”.