From the last few days, there has been a surge in covid-19 cases. In last four days 2226 cases were confirmed. In fact, these are worrying signs. Rather these are telltale signs of the 3rd wave. Such a situation demands preempting dangers. All measures are needed to be taken to prevent further spread and it needs collective fight. In such a scenario, public transport remains central and critical.
When lockdown to prevent covid-19 spread was imposed during the first wave, the shutdown of the public transport was central to it. Also, when restrictions were eased, the public transport resumption was not among the activities allowed immediately. Then, the administration held many meetings with transporters, drivers, and others associated with the sector to educate them about dos and don’ts. Services of leading experts were utilized. The government was perfectly right in the endeavor.
Can COVID-19 spread through public transport systems? It was difficult to answer this question without data then and even today when relaxations are aplenty. Definitely, also, it cannot also be discarded as implausible. To shut down the public transport was commendable on part of the government before it could contribute to the spread at the beginning. Many restrictions that were in place since the beginning of the pandemic have been lifted. Locking the public transport now is implausible. However, the violations of social distancing and goby to wearing face coverings such as masks should not be allowed especially when the cases of covid-19 are spiking. While it is true that cowering in fear of the virus can no longer be an option, as sustenance of everyday life has to be ensured, the government and people cannot take things for granted. For activities to continue, both the government and the public must not allow virus transition at all.
The experience of the first and second waves shows that lockdowns – national or state level – have caused irreparable damage to millions of livelihoods. The complacency of people concerning hygiene and flouting of advisories, as per the experts, have been responsible for the surge in the cases. Advisories need to be taken seriously given that the virus surge is linked to affecting livelihood besides life itself. There should be no laxity in enforcement of Covid Appropriate Behaviour. There is need for increasing testing capacity, besides declaring micro-containment zones and hot spots in areas registering increase in the cases, and to avoid crowding at public places.