girl mask in rail

Public Transport? Have the Checklist to Port!

Healthcare Healthcare IT

Researchers comprising engineers and scientists from the University of Leeds, the UK’s DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), and the University of Manchester, have tabled the first-of-its-kind computer model meant to evaluate risks associated with catching Covid-19 on mass transport system, that too, for short journeys.

It’s interesting to learn that these computer simulations were conducted prior to arousal of Omicron variant. The inference through this computer model is that there is an abysmal likelihood of contracting Covid-19 with proper ventilation as well as mitigation methods like social distancing, sanitation, face coverings, and asking symptomatic population to stay at home.

The Department for Transport and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have funded the model as a part of TRACK project (worth £1.7 million).

As per Professor Cath Noakes (University of Leeds and Principal Investigator), the environment where people go around together are at a risk of Covid-19 virus and public transport isn’t an exception to it. On the other hand, if the journeys are not overcrowded and carriage happens to be well-ventilated, the risks could be minimized.

Bye Bye Face Masks?

It also needs to be noted that the measures suggested above do not render escapade from putting on face masks. When it comes to subway carriage or tube railway it’s tough to maintain social distancing. In such a scenario, merely touching contaminated surface could also result in infection. Along with face masks, management of regular hand hygiene and refraining from touching mouth, nose, and eyes are recommended.

The above-mentioned findings have been published in the journal named “Indoor Air”.

The computer model has simulated risks of getting Covid-19 through prominent modes of transmission, like being within 2 metres from an infected person, accidently touching a contaminated surface, and then touching eyes, mouth, or nose, and/or aerosol inhalation. As per the model, the following rules could be adhered to –

  • When infection rates due to Covid-19 are high, crowing in the public places should be reduced.
  • There should be public health policies encouraging people to stay at home if they have been infected.
  • Mask-wearing should be mandatory. Hand sanitization should be made compulsory near the high-touch points, like escalators or trains where people are continuously on the move.

The researchers are also stating that as of now there isn’t any proof of public transport driving the pandemic, but the fact that any shared enclosed setting could invite transmission can’t be ruled out. So, it’s better to take preventive measures herein, as suggested by them.

The Preventive affairs of the UK

Despite the recommendations to keep the masks “on” at public places and while using public transport, the English government has lifted the “once-upon-a-time” mandatory need to put on face coverings in several places (inclusive of public transport). However, the Mayor of London has stated that coverings and face masks will be amongst the mandates on every mode of London’s public transport. Plus, the people have to legally abide by the rule to wear face covering on the public transport in Northern Ireland Wales, and Scotland.

In a nutshell, the model enlists the factors that could catalyse the risk of catching Covid-19 at public places and short-distance public transport, so as to help the government and people alike to be careful.

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