Rail worker Belly Mujinga dies of COVID-19 after being spat at
A railway ticket office worker caught the coronavirus and died after being spat at while on duty.
Belly Mujinga, 47, was working at London Victoria station on the morning of March 22 when a man said that he had Covid-19 and spat and coughed at her. She and a colleague, who was also assaulted, fell ill within days.
Evidence may have been lost because the incident was not reported to police until Monday.
Ms Mujinga’s family questioned why she was carrying out frontline work given her respiratory problems and say that she had been forced to work on the concourse. They said that she was sent back on the concourse after the incident despite shaking with the trauma.
Her husband Lusamba Gode Katalay said the man had asked his wife what she was doing and why she was there.
“She told him she was working and the man said he had the virus and spat on her,” he added.
Mrs Mujinga was admitted to Barnet Hospital on 2 April and was put on a ventilator. But she died three days later, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman described the attack on the key worker as “despicable”.
Mr Katalay said he called his wife on a video app when she was in the hospital, but didn’t hear from her again.
“I thought she might be asleep, but the doctor phoned me to tell me she had died,” he said.
“She was a good person, a good mother, and a good wife. She was a caring person and would take care of everybody.”
Ten people attended Mrs Mujinga’s funeral, including her 11-year-old daughter.
Her cousin Agnes Ntumba told the BBC that Mrs Mujinga believed she was safe in her usual work environment – the ticket office.
“They should not have made her work on the concourse,” she said.
“She shouldn’t have died in this condition. We could have prevented it – if she had more PPE or if they kept her inside instead of being on the concourse.”
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We are shocked and devastated at Belly’s death. She is one of far too many front-line workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus.”
The union added that there were “serious questions about her death”.
“As a vulnerable person in the ‘at-risk’ category, and her condition known to her employer, there are questions about why she wasn’t stood down from frontline duties early on in this pandemic,” Mr Cortes said.
Ms Mujinga’s employer, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), said it “took any allegations extremely seriously” and that it was investigating all claims.
Angie Doll, of GTR, said: “The safety of our customers and staff, who are key workers themselves, continues to be front of mind at all times and we follow the latest government advice.”
Latest figures show 42 Transport for London (TfL) workers have died with Covid-19, in addition to 10 Network Rail staff.