A DIAMOND Bus driver based at the depot in Redditch has died from Covid-19 following an outbreak.

The 55-year-old driver, who has not been named, became ill on February 18 and died days later on the 21st.

Diamond’s managing director Bob Baker says he knew the driver for 20 years and they became personal friends.

The driver, who was from Birmingham, was one of seven staff members who contracted the virus since mid February.

He had driven local buses in Redditch since 2015 and became a well-liked member of the Diamond Bus team.

Mr Baker said: "He was a great personality - it's an absolute tragedy.

"I can't put it into words how much he will be missed by his colleagues. He wasn't just a bus driver - he was my friend.

"I imagine he would have returned to work on the following Monday if this didn't happen."

Mr Baker says employees are receiving lateral flow tests twice a week and drivers have face masks and sanitising equipment.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “Worcestershire County Council can confirm it has been working with Worcestershire Regulatory Services to support Diamond Buses in Redditch following a recent outbreak of Covid-19.

Staff who tested positive for the virus, followed national guidance, self-isolating for at least 10 days.

"Close contacts were identified at the start of the outbreak and told to self-isolate.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with the family of an employee who has sadly passed away.

"Unfortunately, it is a real reminder to us all that COVID-19 remains in our communities.

"Public Health partners continue to work closely with the business to ensure prevention measures remain in place and we continue to work collectively to monitor the situation and to ensure all necessary action is taken.”