Right now, with the pandemic still raging, how safe would you feel stepping onto a bus or train? In one survey highlighted by the World Economic Forum, 52% of respondents said that they would be uncomfortable using public transport – the same percentage expressing reticence about attending concerts.
However, if you have no practical option but to journey on public transport, such as to get to work or provide urgent help to someone, you can still slash your risk of COVID-19 infection on that trip.
Use public transport only for essential journeys
While many people are now working from home and so don’t need to worry about commuting on public transport, this isn’t the case for many people whose jobs can’t be carried out remotely.
All the same, while the number of people who need to use public transport is much lower than it once was, many trains and buses could still seem relatively crowded. That’s likely largely because many public transport services have been axed – so, you should limit your public transport trips to those that are crucial.
Wash hands before and after using public transport
“Washing hands thoroughly before and after using public transport is important – so, for example, before you leave the house and when you get to your destination,” Dr Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, explains in words quoted by the Independent.
Of course, if you develop any COVID symptoms, like a persistent cough or fever, you should get a test. It’s easy to book a COVID-19 test from MyHealthChecked.
Avoid using public transport in peak hours
What would those hours be? They have been determined as 5:45-7:30am and 4-5:30pm. If it’s possible for you to hold off using public transport during these hours, you could find trains or buses that are less crowded and, thus, make it easier for you to stay the recommended distance of at least two metres away from other passengers.
Practice good respiratory hygiene
The practices you should follow to maintain good respiratory hygiene on public transport are much the same that you ought to use in other public places.
Therefore, when coughing or sneezing, you should do so into a flexed elbow – and, if you use a tissue, you should immediately discard it into a closed bin. Naturally, the usual advice about washing hands regularly with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water also applies.
Be careful what you touch on public transport
This includes avoiding touching armrests you see on trains. When taking a trip on a light rail system like the London Underground, you might usually be tempted to grab a bar or handle when lowering yourself into a seat or rising from it – but you should try to resist that temptation for now.
That’s because a COVID-infected person could have coughed or breathed on those surfaces recently. If you wear gloves throughout your journey, you can help yourself to counter the risk; however, you must remember not to touch your face while wearing those gloves.