For the longest time this year, public transport was closed for the public, especially in the lockdown, for fear of an unbridled spread of the COVID-19 infection. But the restrictions eased a little in the last few months, as people began to understand the nature of the virus and took appropriate steps to keep themselves safe.
If you are someone who is looking to take the local train to travel to your workplace and back, you need to be extremely cautious. Dr Sandeep Patil, Chief Intensivist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan, shares some safety guidelines with indianexpress.com. Read on to find out what they are.
* Stay updated: Check the train schedule, this way you can time your travel in the non-peak hours and at a time slot of your preference and convenience.
* Get your pass/ticket in order: If possible, get an e-pass/e-ticket so you don’t have to wait in serpentine queues to get your travel documents. Choose to make contactless reservations and payments.
* Anticipate your travel needs: Carry a 3-ply face mask, a hand sanitizer, and a few disinfectant wipes with you. Carry a few extra masks in a sealed bag, so you can replace your mask if it gets soiled.
* Prepare: Before you leave for work, wash your hands with soap and water and then wear your mask. Once worn, it should not be touched or removed till you arrive at your workplace. Wear gloves before you step out, as these will work as a barrier if you end up touching door handles, railings, etc. The gloves can be disposed appropriately after reaching your workplace. If you don’t have gloves, ensure that you don’t touch your face during the transit and that you wash your hands thoroughly after getting to work.
* Avoid touching frequently-touched surfaces such as ticket machines, handrails, elevator buttons and benches as much as possible. If you do touch these surfaces, immediately wash your hands with soap and water or use a sanitizer containing 60 per cent alcohol.
* Follow social distancing guidelines: Stay at least 6 feet away from other commuters and avoid gathering in groups. Consider skipping a few seats between yourself and other passengers if possible. Follow signs put out by the railways indicating where to stand or sit, where to queue up, and the exit signs.
* Using public bathrooms at train stations: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the public bathroom.
* Buying food and water at the station: Carry your own water bottle and food packets, don’t accept or offer water bottles to other commuters. If you end up buying food or water at the train station, pay contactless or in exact change. Avoid removing your mask to eat and drink during your commute; instead, wait till you reach your workplace.
* Avoid spitting. This is a strict no-no!
After reaching office:
* Hand hygiene: After completing your trip, sanitize your hands. Upon reaching your workplace, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
* Mask hygiene: Remove the mask you wore during your travel and replace it with a fresh one. The previously-worn mask can be placed in a sealed bag to wash or dispose
* Avoid crowding in the cafeteria: At work, avoid eating together during lunch time and maintain a safe distance in the cafeteria as well.
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