After the long COVID-19 lockdown, India is slowly but surely returning to normalcy. Airlines have started staggered operation of flights. ‘Shramik’ express trains and buses are traversing the length and breadth of the country, returning migrant workers to their home states.
Travel restrictions will most likely be lifted in the near future and then we will be boarding trains and buses to go to work or visit our family. Alternatively, we could also be boarding a flight to return home or to the city where we work.
Are you worried about using public transport?
However, like everyone, you too must be worried about contracting COVID-19 once you start travelling by public transport. After all, you will be coming in contact with so many people and any one of them could be a carrier. And should you catch the disease, you could then pass it on to your family. So what should you do? Fortunately, there are a few precautions that can keep you safe when you travel.
Common safety guidelines for flight, train & bus travellers
First things first, preventing further spread of the disease is everyone’s responsibility. So each of us needs to follow certain guidelines to keep everyone safe from the clutches of coronavirus. These guidelines are simple to implement
1. Social distancing
Social distancing is still the most effective way to prevent coronavirus. You may have heard that airlines, trains and buses have mandated that they will not be filled to full capacity and rows will be left vacant. And we have to be extra responsible and ensure that this social distancing is maintained throughout our commute.
What can you do? Form an orderly queue before boarding your flight, train or bus and make sure there is sufficient distance between you and the other passengers. Do not crowd around the exits when it is time to disembark. In a train or bus, do not forcefully occupy seats that are left empty for the sake of social distancing.
At all times, be at least 6 feet away from everyone.
2. Sanitize your hands
Another crucial preventive measure is to sanitize your hands multiple times while commuting. You will be touching handrails, overhead baggage compartments and washroom door knobs. As we know, coronavirus can linger on these surfaces for 72 hours. Using an alcohol-based sanitizer will kill the virus if it is present on your hands.
Avoid eating while travelling back and forth from work. If it is a long interstate journey, make sure your hands are washed or sanitized thoroughly before consuming food. Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with your hands unnecessarily. Make sure your children don’t do that either.
Sanitize your hands again after you get off your flight, train or bus. According to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all airports, railway stations and bus terminals will be stocked with soaps and sanitizers so use them. Once you reach your office or home, clean your hands with soap and water for a minute.
3. Wear a mask
Wear a protective mask at all times, from the moment you step out to when you reach home. It offers the first line of defence against transmission.
4. Clean up thoroughly
To eliminate the risk of the coronavirus surviving on your clothes, suitcase or work bag, you need to disinfect them when you come home after your journey by flight, train or bus. Wash your clothes and suitcase or bags.
5. Comply with the authorities
The centre has requested states to make arrangements for thermal screening at airports, railway stations and bus terminals. Please undergo the screening. It is for your own good and the safety of our country.
6. Let us all be responsible citizens
If you are exhibiting any sign of coronavirus, refrain from travelling altogether as you will risk the health of others.
According to guidelines, all flight or ‘Shramik’ express passengers are to self-monitor for 14 days. If you think you have symptoms of coronavirus, consult a medical professional immediately.
It is natural to be apprehensive about opting for public modes of transport in the present scenario. But life cannot remain on hold forever. Follow basic hygiene guidelines while travelling and cooperate with the transport authorities. If we are all cautious, together we can defeat the COVID-19 menace.