Transport Resumption: Vulnerability, Safety  

Transport Resumption: Vulnerability, Safety  

Transporters have been seeking resumption of commercial transportation while other sectors have been opened up following easing of the lockdown over covid-19.  The government has recently accepted their demand for a fare hike but they have been pushing for the resumption. The public transport has remained off the road since March 15 in the wake of lockdown announced over the Covid-19 pandemic. It is true that staying indoors during the global pandemic was meant to save a huge number of lives including the most vulnerable. But such confinement always threatened the livelihood of many vulnerable and one worst sector has been the transporters without any doubt.
Recently, the government held various sessions as regards teaching the drivers and conductors about the precautions, safeguards and SOPs to be followed in view of the pandemic. As and when they are allowed to resume the business, the transporters must be ready to understand and live up with the reality that it cannot be business as usual. The government by not rushing to the resumption despite growing demands has done a better thing as a proper ramping up of the transport system is needed.  It is true that answers to questions like can COVID-19 spread through public transport systems are difficult to reply but the possibility of the spread in this regard cannot be ruled out entirely.  Public confidence is also needed to be restored as fears of crowd infections still loom large. In absence of the transport, the commuters prefer travelling in private modes like two-wheelers and auto rickshaws even as sumo services have been restored on some limited routes.  The government, it seems is aware that about the problem of contact-tracing if somebody contracts the disease while there may be many asymptomatic people among the travelers.
There is also need to consider and address hand contact with common surfaces that are well-known to cause significant COVID-19 spread. There should be guidelines and proper awareness to address all the related issues.  If an infected including asymptomatic person deposits viral particles on vulnerable surfaces, and another person grabs the same spot even briefly, the viral particles could be picked up by their hand. The second person could later deposit the particles on his/her face. People should be made aware about it and the precautions that are required to be taken. Actions are needed from both authorities and the public to keep the public transport systems safe.