Bosses of a Tayside taxi company have been left “astounded” after a passenger travelling to Dundee revealed she had tested positive for coronavirus – while sitting in the back of the cab.
The woman was being driven from a Perthshire village to Dundee on Sunday by a 65-year-old Ace Taxis driver when she told a friend on the phone she had caught the deadly disease.
The conversation was overheard by the driver, who had not been warned in advance and has since had to go into isolation and take his car off the road.
Now the taxi firm is urging anyone who feels unwell not to use public transport.
Anddy Lothian, director of Ace Taxis, said: “We picked her up and took her to an address in Dundee, which is quite a long journey.
“As they were coming into Dundee, she was on the phone to her friend and said ‘I don’t know what to do, I have tested positive and I am feart’.
“The driver couldn’t help but listen, and immediately asked her why she didn’t tell him.
“He wouldn’t have taken her anywhere if he knew, but by this point they were already in Dundee and it was too late.”
Ace Taxis has since contacted the NHS track and trace programme and have followed the advice.
Anddy added: “When the driver phoned me, all sorts of things were going through my head.
“How could someone be so irresponsible? The driver is 65 and his wife has been in and out of hospital for the past few months, he is going through so many emotions right now.
“Why the hell did she choose public transport and not warn us?
“I had to put the driver off the road so he can self isolate for two weeks, that is two weeks’ wages for him and we can’t touch his car for a week.
“Because we have done that no one else is at risk from us, but we don’t know what this woman will be doing in Dundee.
“I am just flabbergasted.
“NHS Tayside has a specific hub with purpose built vehicles with screens that are sterilised between every journey and staff with people who are suited and booted, so they could have taken her if she needed to be moved somewhere.
“Luckily she eventually told us and we found out, otherwise someone else would have got into the back of the car where she had been sitting.
“If you are unwell, it doesn’t matter if it is Covid-19 or not, don’t get on public transport.
“We will get rid of this virus in Scotland, but only if people go home, self-isolate and stay there if they catch it.
“We really hope she makes a full recovery, but she has been so irresponsible.”
Following the incident, NHS Tayside is reminding members of the public to self-isolate if they have any symptoms of coronavirus.
A spokesman for the health board said: “The general advice to the public is that if anyone develops symptoms that may indicate Covid-19 infection, such as a new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste, then they should self-isolate immediately, following the advice on NHS Inform, and arrange to be tested.
“If symptoms are severe, the person should phone 111 for further advice.
“Self-isolation means that the person affected and all household members or extended household members should remain at home and should not go to work, school, shops, public areas or use public transport.”
He continued: “If a person develops symptoms whilst out of the house, then the person should return home quickly and directly.
“They should minimise contact with others, e.g. use a private vehicle to go home.
“If a taxi is required then the person should provide information at the time of booking that they may have symptoms of Covid-19.
“If using public transport the person should keep away from other people.
“Facial coverings should be worn at all times.”