07 Apr How to reduce your risk of coronavirus on public transport
As lockdown restrictions continue to be eased across the country, more and more people are using public transport again. But for many this is an anxious experience, especially after so many months of avoiding tubes, trains and buses.
We all know the tube and other public transport services are riddled with germs anyway. But in the midst of a pandemic it’s understandable that concerns about bugs and COVID-19 are heightened.
First, and foremost, the only precaution you’re legally required to take is to wear a face covering. As of July 24, it is mandatory to wear a mask on public transport and in shops, except for children under the age of 11 (5 in Scotland) and those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering.
Whilst there is very limited evidence that wearing face coverings will protect you from the virus, they help protect others from the potential that you may be carrying the virus. And wearing a face covering is no substitute for other precautions.
“To ensure a safe journey, it is essential that in addition to wearing a face mask, people avoid touching their eyes, mouth and face. They should socially distance from others whilst on board,” Karitonas says. You should stay 2 metres away from people outside of your household wherever possible.
“Any high touch point areas or objects that experience frequent contact – such as grab handles, poles, door handles and seats – are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 and offer opportunities for the virus to spread.”
Dr Ali agrees, adding that you should wash your hands as often as possible.
“People should be fastidious about hygiene and take care not to touch surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. Wash your hands immediately after travelling and avoid densely packed areas,” he adds.
Be sure to carry hand sanitiser or wipes with you wherever you go so you can keep your hands germ-free as much as possible. Hand sanitisers should contain at least 60% alcohol in order to be effective against viruses like coronavirus. Many stations and transport hubs have installed hand gel dispensers, but it’s best not to rely on those to be full all the time.