As COVID-19 cases spike around the country, the public health authorities in India are urging the citizens to practice ‘social distancing’ measures.
This means, no hugs, no shaking hands and generally trying to stay around 1 – 1.5 meters away from each other whenever it is possible. Maintaining 1 – 1.5 meters distance from each other is easier said than done in public transport like buses, metro/local trains and other modes of in India, which are mostly overloaded. Public transportation is highly vulnerable to in outbreaks, such as COVID-19 pandemic.
So how can one practice social distancing on Indian public transport?
Keeping COVID-19 at bay while using public transport is a shared responsibility. While the public transport corporations are increasing the cleaning frequency of their buses, minibuses, metro rail cars, and stations, they also need your help as surfaces touched by hundreds and thousands of people traveling everyday can spread coronavirus infection quickly.
Here are some tips for you to avoid infection, if you are using the public transport system:
- Practice good hygiene while you are on any public transport; this includes avoiding public transport if you feel sick and maintaining at least 1-meter distance between you and others
- Avoid direct contact with drivers, co-passengers and transport staff
- Stagger your travel: Change the time to use public transport. Travel outside of peak hours. This will help reduce the number of people using the public transport network and support social distancing as well.
Remember the following steps to keep yourself and others safe while travelling on public transport or if you are out in the community:
- Wear a mask or handkerchief to cover the mouth and nose during the trip
- Maintain 1-meter distance with anyone who is coughing or sneezing
- Wash hands, often especially, before & after travelling, with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with a paper towel or hand dryer.
- Minimize contact with any surfaces like railings, doors, handgrips, poles, straps, handles, handrails attached to seats, etc. Sanitize your hands after touching any of these surfaces
- Try not to touch your mouth, eyes or nose with unclean.unwashed hands
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; if you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Contactless payments, if possible or use sanitizer before and after taking your physical ticket for travel
Depending on your unique circumstances, you may choose to delay or avoid travelling completely. If you have to travel, then be sure to take the above mentioned steps to help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19.