Banksy: New coronavirus-inspired artwork appears on Tube

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image copyrightBanksy
image captionBanksy spray painted his tag in the colours of a medical face mask

Banksy has returned to the London Underground with a piece encouraging people to wear a face mask.

A video posted on his Instagram page shows a man, believed to be the enigmatic artist, disguised as a professional cleaner.

He can be seen ordering passengers away as he gets to work, stencilling rats around the inside of a carriage.

Transport for London (TfL) said the art was removed "some days ago" in line with its "strict anti-graffiti policy".

The work, called If You Don't Mask, You Don't Get, features a number of rats in pandemic-inspired poses and wearing face masks.

One rodent stencilled on the Circle Line train appears to be sneezing, while another is shown spraying anti-bacterial gel.

The artist's name is also daubed across the driver's door of a train.

View this post on Instagram

. . If you don’t mask - you don’t get.

A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

At the end of the video, the words "I get lockdown" appear on the side of a station wall before a train's doors close to reveal the phrase "but I get up again", and Chumbawamba's 1997 song Tubthumping kicks in.

All users of public transport in London must wear a face mask.

The statement from TfL said it appreciated "the sentiment of encouraging people to wear face coverings".

"We'd like to offer Banksy the chance to do a new version of his message for our customers in a suitable location," it added.

The BBC has asked if the travel authority worked with Banksy on this artwork and, if not, whether his actions posed a security risk.

Early on in his career Banksy, who is originally from Bristol, often spray-painted rats and monkeys on to Tube trains.

image copyrightBanksy
image captionA man purporting to be Banksy asks onlookers to move away

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