[Withdrawn] COVID-19: guidance for staff in the transport sector

Updated 27 March 2020

This guidance was withdrawn on

The information on this page has been superseded by the following guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators.

What you need to know

  • if someone becomes unwell while at a transport hub or on their journey with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they must be sent home
  • passengers should wash their hands for 20 seconds before and after they have been on public transport and catch coughs and sneezes in tissues
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products
  • advise passengers they should not travel if they are feeling unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) - a new, continuous cough or high temperature. This will also help to protect others from infection
  • use announcements in transport hubs to reinforce key messages, such as washing hands before and after travel, and what to do if unwell


This guidance will assist transport settings in addressing coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance may be updated in line with the changing situation.


The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough or a high temperature.

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection.

What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a transport setting

If anyone becomes unwell with the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a transport setting they must be sent home and advised to follow the stay at home guidance.

If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 (or call 111 if they don’t have internet access). In an emergency, call 999 if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk. Do not visit the GP, pharmacy, urgent care centre or a hospital.

If a member of staff or a passenger has helped someone who was taken unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell.

It is not necessary to close the transport setting or send any staff home unless government policy changes. Keep monitoring the website for the latest details.

Travel arrangements

Anyone who has symptoms should be advised to quickly and directly return home, to remain there and avoid contact with other people. While using public transport, they should try to keep away from other people and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue.

This will prevent them from spreading the disease to family, friends and the wider community.

Cleaning and waste

You can find guidance on cleaning and waste disposal.

Limiting spread in transport hubs

Transport hubs should use posters and announcements to remind travellers and staff to wash their hands often and follow general hygiene advice. Posters, leaflets and other materials available.

Handling baggage, post or freight

There is no known increase in risk for handling baggage, post or freight from specified countries. Staff should continue to follow existing risk assessments and safe systems of work.

Arrivals into the UK


Maritime Declarations of Health are already required for all ships arriving from a foreign port. If the Maritime Declaration of Health reports any instances of illness, the usual procedures for infectious diseases will be followed.


All passengers will be provided with information leaflets on arrival in the UK.

All flights to the UK are required to:

  • provide health announcements to passengers relating to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
  • provide information to the relevant airport in line with standard operating procedure, and to the PHE (Public Health England) Health Control Unit at London Heathrow (LHR), in the event that there is a seriously unwell passenger

Performing body or bag searches

PHE recommends that passengers be asked if they have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature prior to the search. PHE recommend that staff consider wearing gloves for each search and wash their hands as frequently as possible.

Toilet and shower facilities

Current government advice is to stay at home and to not undertake non-essential travel. For those for whom travel is essential, for example haulage and delivery drivers, use of facilities at motorway service stations is important. Toilet and shower facilities can remain open subject to implementation of targeted or specific additional measures consistent with current guidelines. As follows:

All individuals using the facilities should be reminded to:

  • wash their hands for 20 seconds, more frequently than usual, each day
  • catch coughs and sneezes in tissues or cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve (not hands), throw the tissue away and wash their hands immediately
  • use hand sanitiser gel in addition to soap and water or on its own if soap and water are not available

View posters, leaflets and other materials

Social distancing between individuals should be practised for anyone using the facilities – with people staying a minimum of 2 metres from each other, which in practice may mean that only one individual uses the facilities at any one time should the size of the facility be insufficient to allow enough distance between users.

Cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant will reduce the risk of passing coronavirus (COVID-19) infection on to other people, so regular cleaning of facilities such as showers and toilets should be implemented. Normal cleaning frequencies will need to be increased depending on how often the facilities are used. For example, if there is a high level of usage, the normal cleaning frequency should be doubled. This will need to be a local decision as cleaning frequencies may vary throughout the day depending on the number of users of the facilities. Hard surfaces that are touched frequently (for example door handles, grab rails) should also be cleaned more frequently in addition to standard cleaning protocols:

  • clean and disinfect regularly-touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using standard cleaning or household disinfection products
  • follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings

In the event of any individuals showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – such as a new, continuous cough or a high temperature – they should not use the facility and should be referred to the advice on the NHS website.