May 19, 2020| |
CORONAVIRUS: STAYING SAFE WHILE USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
As the lockdown in many parts of the world is gradually being eased, experts have predicted some periodic spikes in the number of coronavirus cases. According to BusinessDay, “an estimated eight million daily commuters with commercial buses in Lagos metropolis are at high risk of contracting the raging coronavirus pandemic.” One primary reason for the imminent spike, as experts have predicted, is the use of public transport which was not present during the lockdowns as everyone was confined in their various homes.
Also, Telegraph.co.uk, in a news report, declared that “transport hubs are widely regarded as infection hotspots, with virus transmission rates up to six times higher for those using public transport systems.”
Our best advice is that you should, by all means, avoid using public transport systems. This is the most guaranteed way to keep you and your loved ones safe from contracting the virus via commute. According to research by BMC Infectious Diseases, people who use public transport systems are six times more likely to contract the virus than others.
As we are well aware that for some of us who inevitably have to use public transport, these following tips will come in handy in keeping you safe while you commute on that “danfo” or cab.
1. Change your commute time
If you cannot avoid using public transport, the first tip that should be on the top of your mind is to change your commute time to the less busy hours of the day. Traveling during times when the roads are less busy reduces your risk of possible contact with other people.
Rush hours are times in between 6:00 am and 9:00 am, and 4:00 pm and 9:00 pm. Rush hours are largely depicted as times when the highest number of people are using the road, either going to or coming from work. Try as much as possible to avoid using public transport systems during rush hours, unless you can afford to hire a taxi.
2. AVOID TOUCHING HANDRAILS, DOORKNOBS, AND OTHER SURFACES
Be very cautious of surfaces that you touch when commuting on a bus. Surfaces like handrails and backrests can serve as major carriers of the coronavirus. You should learn to keep your hands to yourself when attempting to get on a bus and when you are already on it.
3. HAVE YOUR EXACT FARE
To avoid having to exchange money with the driver, conductor, or other passengers, make sure you have your exact fare. Money can be another major carrier of the coronavirus because it would most likely have had contact with so many different people who may or may not have the virus. In any case that you do not have your exact fare, you should have a separate purse or bag to keep all change you get from the commute, the market, and other transactions, and disinfect these monies immediately you can.
4. SIT IN FRONT, BESIDE THE DRIVER
Are you wondering which sitting position is best for you during the period of this coronavirus pandemic? Then the first-row seat just beside the driver is the best bet for you in a public bus. That is probably the only seat on the bus where you have very limited contact with other passengers, although we can not all sit at the front row.
5. ON A TAXI? SIT BEHIND THE DRIVER
If you are commuting on a taxi, the best position for you to sit will be behind the driver where contact with the driver is least likely. Overall, taxis are relatively safer than buses and other public transport vehicles due to the privacy that you get to enjoy therein.
6. WEAR A FACE MASK AND USE A HAND SANITIZER
This should be the number one rule of thumb, as we hear and see the information every day, everywhere around us.
The importance of using these safety items can never be over-emphasized, more especially when you are stepping out of your house to public places e.g markets, bus stops, which happens to be an open environment where contact with other people is very much likely, and most public transport operators are seen to be flouting government regulations on COVID-19 Safety guidelines.
Also, as soon as you get off the bus or taxi, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water when you get to a place where you can access these or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Ultimately, if you are feeling ill or experiencing any of the symptoms of the coronavirus like a cough, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc., PLEASE STAY AT HOME!!
For general tips on how to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, the history of the virus, symptoms and other information, please view here.