Now that the coronavirus induced lockdown is slowly getting lifted, local transportation via buses, taxis, autorickshaws has resumed, under strict conditions. Inter-district and interstate transportation too have started in parts. You may be looking forward to being out and about. You may want to complete long pending work and visits that had to be postponed due to the lockdown. As you resume local commute, keep the following precautionary tips in mind to stay protected from Covid-19.
1) Wear a Face Mask
Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask, anytime you step out of the house. As you may be aware, coronavirus spreads through respiratory droplets that can travel up to several feet when someone sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth or nose. Wearing a face mask protects against that. Since public transport will have many passengers, clustered in a small space, wearing a mask may offer protection. Remember to dispose of the mask safely after coming home. Read this article for details on how to safely discard face masks.
2) Social Distancing Before and During Travel
At the bus stop or train station, don’t gather around. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others by standing in a spaced-out queue. Keeping this distance from others while waiting for the bus, train, taxi or autorickshaw, will reduce the chances of coronavirus droplets falling on your clothes or bag if someone sneezes or coughs without covering it.
While buses are already advised to operate only at 50% capacity, you too need to ensure sufficient distance from fellow passengers, while sitting or standing. Avoid getting into a crowded bus or train.
If you are using taxis or autorickshaws, it may be better to travel with a fellow passenger only if that person is known to you i.e. either your friend or family. Avoid sharing it with strangers.
3) Avoid Unnecessary Touching
At the bus stop or train station, avoid unnecessary touching of railings, seats, ticket kiosks, ticket windows, etc. Inside the vehicle, during commute, avoid touching the seats, windows, handles, headrest, etc as far as possible. These surfaces are frequently touched by multiple passengers through the day. If some of those passengers are unwell and touch the surface with unwashed hands after coughing or sneezing, they pose the risk of transferring coronavirus or other infections to that surface.
Next preventive tip is to limit the use of your mobile phone as far as possible while using public transport. Your phone may collect germs from your unwashed hands after you have touched multiple high touch surfaces. It may also be susceptible to respiratory droplets landing on it if someone coughs or sneezes without covering.
You may want to skip eating a snack during your daily commute or participating in group activities like a game of cards with co-passengers. Why take a chance with unwashed hands, after having touched multiple high touch surfaces?
4) Wash Your Hands Frequently and in the Right Way
The most important precaution for a safe travel through public transport is frequent washing of hands. While you are on the road, you may not have access to soap and water. In such a case, do use an alcohol based hand sanitiser after getting into the vehicle, after touching any support handle or window, before touching your phone, before touching your water bottle or snack, after paying for transport, after getting off the vehicle. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth without washing or sanitising your hands.
After you reach your destination, wash your hands thoroughly, using soap and water, if available. Remember, simply washing or sanitising hands is not enough. It is effective only if done correctly. You may read the right way to wash your hands here.
5) Take Care of Personal Items
In the past, while travelling, you may have placed your handbag, umbrella, tiffin bag, etc on the floor, on the overhead rack or on the vacant seat next to yours. Post Covid-19 lockdown, it is better to refrain from doing this, Being high touch surfaces, they could possibly be carrying coronavirus. If your bag is heavy or you are travelling with your child and need to keep the bag and other travel accessories on the side, do clean and disinfect them after reaching your destination.
6) Clean and Disinfect Clothes and Other Items After Coming Home
As an additional precaution, especially if you have children or senior citizens at home, you may want to thoroughly clean and disinfect all the items that went out with you on public transport. This includes your clothes, scarves, jackets worn while travelling and your bag, umbrella, mobile phone, wallet, etc. This article details tips on what to do after coming home from outside.
Try the simple tips shared here for disinfecting your clothes. Don’t forget that your phone too can carry germs. Here are steps you can follow to disinfect your phone. These are just some simple precautions you can take against coronavirus as you resume travelling for work and personal reasons.