As Mumbai prepares to begin life in a post-lockdown era, traditional commute is seeing drastic change. People scared and sceptical of using public transport, which earlier was the means of not just travelling to work, but also forming new bonds.
Since the coronavirus spreads easily and can survive on surfaces for days, travelling become challenging given the number of touchpoints and close proximity between passengers. So apart from mandatory use of mask and hand sanitizer, what more can people do, especially while travelling in public transport?
While talking to The Free Press Journal, Dr Deepali Mohan Kadam from K.J.Somaiya Medical College and Research Centre said physical distancing is the key to keep the virus at bay. "After getting off the train/bus/taxi make use of hand sanitiser. Not just this, but it is advisable to use sanitiser before touching door handles, armrests, handrails, bars, etc. You may use hand gloves, but it is necessary to wash your hands after removing the gloves. It is also important to wash the gloves and drying them before reuse.”
She also advised that one must ensure the taxi driver and co-passenger is wearing a face cover/mask.
Dr Kadam says people should avoid touching the face mask while travelling. "Removing/lowering the face cover/mask while talking or answering the mobile phone call should be avoided," she said. She also advised that people should avoid carpooling.
Here are some safety tips for commuting post-lockdown:
● Use face cover/mask. Ensure that it covers nose and mouth and there is no gap on the sides.
● Carry hand sanitizer which contains isopropyl alcohol in the concentration of minimum 70%.
● Avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth.
● Follow cough etiquette. Sneeze or cough into tissue paper/handkerchief or folded elbow. Dispose the used tissue paper into a dustbin.
● Limit the things you carry to your workplace. Preferably do not get carry documents, stationary from workplace to home.
● Protect your mobile phone by using a transparent plastic mobile cover. Sanitize the cover with hand sanitizer after reaching home or wash it with soap and water. Let it dry.
● Avoid use of wrist watch, bracelets, rings, ID card — the surfaces may get contaminated and serve as fomites. Keep ID card in your wallet.
● Preferably, earmark footwear for commuting. Remove and keep footwear outside the main door.
● If travelling by bus/train it is better to have a pass/ e-ticket in order to avoid exchange of currency. In case of use of currency, keep exact change for the ticket. Coins to be washed with soap and water. Go cashless. Make use of digital modes of payment.
● If travelling in personal vehicle, disinfect the vehicle keys with sanitizer. Identify a place at door entry to keep vehicle keys, wallet and mobile in a plastic tray.
● When you reach home, before entering ensure that the front door and bathroom door is kept open for you by a member of the family in order to avoid touching surfaces like doorknobs, handles, latch. Give intimation to family members regarding the time of reaching home.
● Wash your hands with soap and water for 40 seconds. Remove the face cover. Wash the face cover with soap and hot water. Let it dry in the sun.
● After reaching home, take a bath. Wash clothes with detergent and hot water.