A notice on the floor outside a supermarket reminding customers to keep a social distance while queueing in London, Britain April 3, 2020. (Xinhua/Han Yan)
Lives really do depend on us following the rules and staying at home, tweeted London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
LONDON, April 5 (Xinhua) -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday that he is "absolutely devastated" after five London bus workers died from COVID-19, calling upon London residents to follow government rules to stay at home to save lives amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Khan tweeted that "lives really do depend on us following the rules and staying at home."
The message came as London residents were pictured flouting lockdown rules during this weekend, with a major London park forced to close after thousands ignored government advice.
"I have been clear that our incredible public transport staff -- on the buses, tubes, trams and trains -- are critical workers, making a heroic effort to allow our NHS (National Health Service) staff to save more lives," the mayor said.
"But we need to play our part too and that means fewer Londoners using the public transport network," he said.
"Please follow the rules. Stay at home and do not use public transport unless it is absolutely unavoidable," he added.
A total of 47,806 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Britain as of Sunday morning, an increase of 5,903 in the past 24 hours, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
As of Saturday afternoon, of those hospitalised in Britain who tested positive for coronavirus, 4,932 have died, marking a daily rise of 621, according to the department.
Photo taken on April 3, 2020 shows messages urging people to stay at home to help the National Health Service (NHS) save lives in London, Britain. (Xinhua/Han Yan)
Earlier Sunday, trade union "Unite" confirmed the deaths of the five bus workers, saying that their members had been doing "a heroic job in getting NHS and care workers to their places of work" and described the loss as a "tragedy".
Unite's Regional Secretary Peter Kavanagh said the union would be assisting families of its members "in every possible way".
Meanwhile, Transport for London (TfL), a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, said it was "extremely saddened" by the deaths.
"The safety of our staff and customers is our absolute priority and we have been working closely with the bus companies, the mayor and Unite to implement a range of changes and improvements to keep the bus network and garages safe for those operating and using it, in accordance with Public Health England advice," the TfL said.
"Our clear message to Londoners is simple -- the transport network is only for critical workers who need to make absolutely essential journeys. Please, everyone else, stay at home, don't travel and save lives," it added.
An advertising board displays a message thanking the NHS outside University College Hospital, in London, Britain on April 1, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)
Despite the city lockdown, bus and subway operations continue in the British capital for critical workers who need to make absolutely essential journeys. Other people are urged to stay at home and save lives.
Scores of Londoners have been pictured in parks basking in the weekend sunshine despite government orders to stay at home to curb the spread of coronavirus.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly urged the country not to give in to the "fine weather" to help save lives during the pandemic.
However, photos of several major London parks, including Hampstead Heath, Battersea and Greenwich, showed people laying down in the sunshine, even though sunbathing is not listed among "essential" activities.
Brockwell Park in south London, one of London's most popular parks, is closed from Sunday after thousands of sun worshippers breached government lockdown rules Saturday.
Also on Saturday, police slammed an east London family for holding an 18th birthday celebration during the lockdown.
The police force said they had been called to the house on Central Park road, where they found some 25 guests inside. A photo was shared online to show a home in East Ham covered in balloons and party decorations. ■